Wendy's Conducts Digital Review

Fast Feeder Says Kaplan Thaler Invited to Participate

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Wendy's has put its digital account into review, Ad Age has learned.

Digital is at Kaplan Thaler, the chain's lead creative agency. A spokesman for Wendy's confirmed the review, adding that Kaplan Thaler, which recently merged with Publicis, will have an opportunity to participate. He added that the review does not affect the rest of the agency's business.

It's believed there is no consultant on the review. Kaplan Thaler, which has had the Wendy's account since 2009, could not be reached for comment.

Wendy's is seeing signs of improvement on the sales front. In the second quarter it posted North American same store sales growth of 3.2%, the fifth-consecutive quarter of growth, although in the first quarter its growth was negligible at less than 1%. In 2011, the chain managed to pull ahead of Burger King and become the nation's second-largest burger chain by sales, according to Technomic.

Wendy's in the first quarter pulled the plug on promoting its midtier W burger because although it was intended to be a product that boosted sales and profits by getting 99-cent-menu patrons to trade up, it saw the opposite effect, with customers who bought the more expensive burgers trading down.

The chain in April jettisoned its "You know when it's real" tagline in favor of "Now that 's better." The campaign also features Wendy Thomas, daughter of founder Dave Thomas, who generally appears in ads meant to build the brand. A second, no-name redhead typically appears in ads that promote specific products.

Wendy's in 2011 spent about $273 million in the U.S. on measured media, according to Kantar Media. In 2010 it spent $282 million and $296 million in 2009.

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