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'Unofficial' Spokesman Gets the Official Boot

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Mr. Wendy, the "unofficial" spokesman for Wendy's International, is officially being canned.

Facing declining sales and robust competition,

The controversial Mr. Wendy character is being dumped after only eight months of commercials.

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and widespread criticism over the campaign featuring the hapless burger evangelist, Wendy's today said the chain would end its Mr. Wendy campaign at the end of the month.

The "Mr. Wendy's" effort featured a man who claimed to work for the chain "unofficially," trying to persuade people he sees to eat at Wendy's, often to his family's embarrassment.

Sagging sales
The No. 3 burger chain posted a 5.8% drop in same-store sales during October, while systemwide comparable sales grew 6.9% at Burger King. The fast-food category leader McDonald's Corp. hasn't yet released its monthly sales, but is expected to show a 5% gain over a 15.1% gain in October 2003.

"While decisions are still being made about new creative, food has always been the hero at Wendy's, and we're going to make sure that comes through loud and clear," Wendy's executive vice president of marketing, Don Calhoon, said in a statement.

He and Tom Mueller, president and chief operating officer of Wendy's North America, said the marketer is "refocusing its advertising direction to more prominently position Wendy's food and heritage of quality."

The chain's ad agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, New York, is developing new creative to begin airing later this year.

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