Wendy's Digital, Case study Twitter Beef by VML Kansas City

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Twitter Beef

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Industry Fast food
Media Digital, Interactive & Mobile, Case study
Market United States
Agency VML Kansas City
Associate Creative Director Jess Elwood
Executive Creative Director Chris Corley
Creative Director Tony Marin
Senior Art Director Alison Radke
Copywriter Francis LaBelle
Released October 2016


Cannes Lions 2017
PR Digital & Social: Real-Time Response Silver Lion
Cyber Social: Real-Time Response Bronze Lion

Credits & Description

Title: Twitter Beef
Agency: Vml
Brand: Wendys
Country: USA
Entrant Company: Vml, Kansas City
Advertising Agency: Vml, Kansas City
Media Agency: Mediavest|Spark, New York
Pr Agency: Ketchum, New York
Global Chief Creative Officer: Debbi Vandeven (Vml)
North American Chief Creative Officer: John Godsey (Vml)
Executive Director, Client Engagement: Jennifer Mcdonald (Vml)
Executive Creative Director: Chris Corley (Vml)
Group Director, Client Engagement: Jason Bass (Vml)
Group Planning Director: Bret Smith (Vml)
Group Creative Director: Pat Piper (Vml)
Senior Art Director: Alison Radke (Vml)
Copywriter: Francis Labelle (Vml)
Associate Creative Director: Jess Elwood (Vml)
Community Manager: Matt Keck (Vml)
Associate Channel Director, Social Strategy: Christina Miller (Vml)
Supervisor, Analytics & Insights: Emily Cray (Vml)
Director, Client Engagement: Kelly Gartenmayer (Vml)
Channel Manager: Jessica Wiggins (Vml)
Channel Manager: Sam Schuster (Vml)
Chief Concept & Marketing Officer: Kurt Kane (Wendys)
Vice President, Advertising, Media & Digital: Brandon Rhoten (Wendys)
Social Media Specialist: Meredith Ulmer (Wendys)
Digital Marketing Director: Mike Bueno (Wendys)
Vice President, Digital & Strategy Director: Ryan Kefer (Mediavest Spark)
Senior Vice President, Cause Marketing & Client Service: Melissa Golden (Ketchum)
Vice President, Media Specialist: Marissa Kandel (Ketchum)
Creative Director: Tony Marin (Vml)
Program Manager: Annie Gerker (Vml)
When it comes to engaging with its social media audiences in real time, Wendy’s community management is all in, loving on fans and playfully roasting haters and even our competition, resulting in consistent mainstream media coverage.For example, in January, when Twitter user "Thuggy-D" replied to a Wendy's tweet saying Wendy’s must freeze its beef, the conversation escalated until we reminded him about the miracle of refrigeration. CNN’s Anderson Cooper reenacted the exchange, resulting in thousands of Twitter users asking Wendy’s to roast them in the same way. So we did. And the mainstream media covered it again.And when McDonald’s tweeted it was going to be serving fresh beef (like Wendy’s has from the beginning) on one of its hamburgers in some locations by mid-2018, we responded with a tweet that not only hijacked its biggest announcement of the year, but also made 82% of the conversation surrounding it about Wendy’s.
Overall, 24 million American adults converted to acknowledge Wendy’s uses fresh, never frozen beef within eight weeks, according to Millward Brown Brand Health Tracker.Thuggy-D Exchange?Over 214,000 earned engagements on the initial tweet?Ongoing community management earned an additional 143 million earned impressions and 11.9 million earned engagements?869 million earned media impressions?Over 20 million visits to Wendy’s Twitter profile page?Over 200,000 new @Wendys followers earned, hitting our 1 million follower mark?407% increase in conversation mentioning Wendy’s over 10 days ?We turned a 40-year-old slogan into global news McDonald’s Exchange?1,650% increase in conversation about Wendy’s within 24 hours?1.6 billion earned media impressions?Ongoing community management incurred 22 million earned impressions, 1 million earned engagements and more than 44,000 new @Wendys followers?82% of the conversation surrounding McDonald’s announcement also mentioned Wendy’s, stealing McDonald’s show
Thuggy-D Exchange:THUGGY-D: Your beef is frozen and we all know it. Ya’ll know we laugh at your slogan, “fresh, never frozen, right?” Like you’re really a joke.WENDY’S: Sorry to hear you think that! But you’re wrong. We’ve only ever used fresh, never-frozen beef since we were founded in 1969.THUGGY-D: So you deliver it raw on a hot truck?WENDY’S: Where do you store cold things that aren’t frozen?THUGGY-D: Ya’ll should give up. @McDonalds got you beat with that dope ass breakfast. WENDY’S: You don’t have to bring them into this just because you forgot refrigerators existed for a second there. McDonald’s Exchange:MCDONALD’S: Today we announce that by mid-2018, all Quarter Pounder burgers at the majority of our restaurants will be cooked with fresh beef. WENDY’S: So you’ll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend.
Connecting directly with consumers continues to be the most powerful and effective way to change their minds and influence opinion. And when a few characters from community management gains you more than a billion earned media impressions and national media coverage, that’s when you know you’re driving the conversation and enhancing a brand’s reputation and business.
Campaign Description:
Wendy’s community management combines a consistent, conversational tone with topical, relevant humor and playful sarcasm. At our best, we do this while also driving consistent brand messaging. Such was the case when we shut down a Twitter troll, and our largest competitor, McDonald’s, in real time by pairing the established Wendy’s “challenger with charm” brand voice with our core “fresh, never frozen” brand messaging. In other words, we simply did what we do every day.
Looking for opportunities to reinforce Wendy’s fresh, never frozen message through our social engagements, we would amplify anything that gained traction through earned media.