Wendy’s Enlists YouTube Stars Rhett & Link to Put a Twist on Livestreaming

Will it work like Meerkat and Periscope?

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Thanks largely to Meerkat and Periscope, livestreaming has been a red-hot tactic for social media marketers in recent weeks. And today, Wendy's is putting a YouTube twist on the buzzy concept.  

To promote summertime drinks on its menu, the Dublin, Ohio-based brand's team has built a promotion—anchored by webcam technology and a microsite—that will let popular YouTube duo Rhett & Link chat with fans in real time. When people visit the microsite, they will be asked questions about their favorite colors, music and food.

After answering the questions, fans will join a virtual chat queue and wait for their turn with Rhett & Link, who, in the meantime, will be churning out live songs and skits based on other people's answers. Each skit is 30 to 60 seconds long and recorded via YouTube.

VML, the burger chain's agency, and Wendy's said that they didn't know how many total videos will be created on the fly, but the idea is to produce as many as possible. 

"It's going to be pretty fast and furious," said Chris Corley, group creative director at VML. UPDATE: The site has been full a good chunk of the day, causing people on Twitter to complain about not being able to get into line.



Once the video chat ends, users are sent an email—addressed from Rhett & Link—with a link to their video that they can share on social media. Wendy's and VML are hoping, of course, for a healthy dose of sharing among consumers to extend the effort's reach. They are also buying Promoted Tweets to drive folks to the digital experience.

Additionally, Wendy's will broadcast its first video from social video app Periscope today. The video will stream from inside Rhett & Link's studio in Los Angeles to show the duo changing costumes, writing scripts and rehearsing the spots before chatting with fans.

The digital-only video campaign underscores how online personalities have become celebrities with the millennial and Gen Z generations.

Watching the ins and outs of how a YouTube video is filmed on Periscope may seem mundane for some, but the idea is to capitalize on Rhett & Link's massive group of fans. The duo has 3.6 million YouTube subscribers, 650,000 Facebook fans and 417,000 Twitter followers.

"We pick and choose [YouTubers] for campaigns that we think are a fit for the target of the product, and ultimately, who can give us the distribution and the kind of influence that we want," said Brandon Rhoten, vp of digital and social media at Wendy's.

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.