Wendy’s, the restaurant chain, has successfully leveraged the engagement potential of Twitter, the social messaging network, to serve as a “gamechanger” for its brand.

Kurt Kane, Wendy’s chief concept and marketing officer, discussed this subject during a session at Advertising Week New York 2018.

“The Twitter platform really has been a gamechanger for us in a very unbalanced marketing world,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Wendy’s takes to Twitter to taunt McDonald’s.)

A case in point involves the brand’s frequent online trolling of rival McDonald’s – as shown by multiple tongue-in-cheek jabs by Wendy’s that suggested its competitor lags behind on the use of fresh beef in its burgers.

“We take our food very seriously, but our entire social media team has a lot of fun just engaging with people organically,” Kane explained.

He said that in poking at its quick-service counterpart, “what we always try to do is take whatever they’re doing and turn it right back around at them” – a tactic that enables Wendy’s to gain major attention despite its smaller marketing budget.

“The more authentic we’ve been, the more genuine we’ve been, the more direct we’ve been in talking about competitors and how we view ourselves as unique, different and special from them, the more successful we’ve been,” Kane said.

Another success for the brand involved challenging a Twitter user to generate 18 million retweets in exchange for a year’s supply of free Wendy’s chicken nuggets.

“When you look at social media,” Kane said, “what we had to do was use it as an opportunity to get the real, authentic, connection with people in a way that we talk at work every day about who we are, what we’re trying to do, what we’re doing across the Wendy’s system … We turned the [marketing] team loose to have a lot of fun with doing that.”

If Twitter is a very modern medium, Wendy’s strategy on this platform deliberately reflects its past, too. “We’ve watched well over 1,000 ads that Wendy’s has put out through the years,” said Kane.

“We’ve studied them – what made them interesting, what did people like about Dave [Thomas, the brand’s founder] – and we really held onto that. That’s what you see on Twitter.”

Sourced from WARC