Why Is Alfonso Ribeiro Tweeting for Wendy’s?

Chain recruits retro stars to launch new products

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

If you tune into Wendy’s Twitter account today, you may be surprised to see that actor Alfonso Ribeiro, filmmaker Ralph Macchio and retired professional wrestler Steve Austin have taken over the fast-food chain’s account.

The celebrities and Wendy’s social team are huddling together to field questions via social media. In addition to talking about BBQ, the actors will "act out specific barbecue-related requests." In exchange for tweeting, Wendy’s fans can win swag and merchandise.

Macchio, Austin and Ribeiro are working with Wendy’s to tout a new line of BBQ sandwiches and sides. The idea behind Wendy’s BBQ menu is to bring the cuisine to areas of the country that aren’t known for serving up the grub—like New York or Miami Beach.

Wendy’s is amplifying today’s social chatter by buying a Promoted Trend—which costs roughly $200,000 per day—and is running Promoted Tweets around the #BBQ4Merica hashtag.

"I thought it was incredibly funny—we’re trying to have a fun time doing it, and I felt like it was something very different than I normally get asked to do, which is basically everything involving the Carlton dance," Ribeiro said.

In addition to the tweet-a-thon, Wendy’s has created several new video ads using Macchio, Ribeiro and Austin. A series of 90-second PSA-like spots rally around the idea that Americans need more BBQ food in their diets.

Wendy’s effort also includes a Tumblr page that pulls together all of the campaign’s GIFs and videos. There is also an online petition to the White House to recognize BBQ as the National Dish of America.

Despite Ribeiro’s endorsement, Wendy’s Twitter followers may be disappointed to not see another revival of the famous Carlton dance that he brought on this week’s Dancing With the Stars. "We put that to bed on Monday night and allowed America to see it one last time," Ribeiro said. 

@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.