Wendy's Introduces Rojos Family in New Hispanic Campaign

Chain Increases Ad Spend by Double Digits But Lags Far Behind Category Leader McDonald's

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Hispanic consumers will soon say 'hola' to a new family: the Rojos, courtesy of Wendy's.

The No. 2 burger chain is launching a new Hispanic marketing campaign it says will illustrate that Wendy's shares the same values as the Hispanic community -- that is, the importance of family, quality food and striving for betterment. "We started as a family business," said Liz Geraghty, VP-brand marketing at Wendy's. "Hispanic consumers are seeking 'better' in everything they do...they have an achievement mindset, and when it comes to food, they appreciate high-quality ingredients."

The campaign's tagline is "Mucho mejor," a loose translation of Wendy's general-market tagline, "Now that's better," introduced in April 2012 to position the chain as a premium fast-food brand. "When you think of Hispanics that come to this country to have a better life, this really speak to that" mindset, said Ms. Geraghty.

"Hispanic consumers as a group are growing in purchasing power and influence, and we need to build the brand with them," said CMO Craig Bahner.

The campaign, created by WPP's Hispanic shop Bravo, will launch May 13 with a TV spot in Spanish that will promote one of Wendy's new products, the Frosty waffle cone. (The product will also be advertised with general market spots.) The spot introduces a fictional family, the Rojos, with three kids. Ms. Geraghty said that a story arc of the family will develop as more spots air, including a subplot in which the teenage daughter, Rosalyn, featured in the first spot, is dating a non-Hispanic boy.

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Hispanic marketers frequently latch on to the idea of family. According to Technomic, a family-friendly atmosphere and authentic and healthful menu offerings are particularly important for Hispanic consumers compared to the general U.S. population.

Most of the spots throughout the campaign will be in Spanish, although Mr. Bahner said that Wendy's will air an ad later this summer "that you will understand whether you speak English or Spanish."

Like many other Hispanic marketers today, Wendy's portrays Hispanics who live in two worlds, combining a personal life with Hispanic roots within an English-speaking country. "We do think this consumer does live in two worlds, and the campaign is designed...to play to that," said Mr. Bahner. He added that the campaign is aligned with Wendy's larger "A cut above" branding and "positions our brand at a higher aspirational level. We think there's a real connection" that Wendy's is making on an emotional as well as a product level.

Mr. Bahner said that Wendy's is also increasing its media spend for Hispanic media by double digits, but he declined to provide further detail. Wendy's spent close to $11.7 million in 2012 on Spanish-language network TV, according to Kantar Media, down from $13.2 million in 2011.

Wendy's has been marketing to Hispanics since the early 90s, a spokesman said. The company used to spend as much as $25 million a year on Spanish-language advertising, and won creative awards with its previous Hispanic agency, the independent Vidal Partnership. Wendy's moved to Bravo in 2010, and has been running a campaign since then with the tagline "Sabor de verdad," loosely translated as "real taste," to go along with its then-general market tagline, "You know when it's real."

Wendy's is up against stiff competition for the Hispanic demographic. McDonald's is the fourth-biggest advertiser in Spanish-language media, spending $114 million in 2011, according to Ad Age's Hispanic Fact Pack. McDonald's is also the fast food restaurant most visited by Hispanics, followed by Burger King, Subway and Taco Bell, according to the 2012 Simmons NCS/NHCS Survey, as analyzed by the Latinum Network. That ranking mirrors the general-market frequencies. For Hispanics, Wendy's is tied for 6th with Jack-in-the-Box and Starbucks.

The new campaign is expected to run at least through the end of the year and will be supported by digital and social media, in-store promotions and local events. Ms. Geraghty said that while Wendy's does have a Spanish-language option on its website and a Facebook page for the Hispanic market, it will be working to beef up its social media presence for Hispanic consumers.

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