Wendy's blasts McDonald's soggy fries

Fast feeder also promotes its newly revamped hot and crispy fries in campaign from VMLY&R

Published On
Oct 14, 2021

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Wendy’s is backing its new fries with a guarantee—and bashing cold and soggy fries some patrons say they get from restaurants such as McDonald’s—in a new campaign that marks its biggest focus on fries in more than a decade.

“The idea that cold and soggy fries suck is a universally accepted fact,” said Carl Loredo, chief marketing officer, Wendy’s.

For years, Wendy’s has been listening to social media commentary, “hearing about the bag of sadness that comes with cold and soggy fries from the category,” said Loredo.

So, Wendy's decided to revamp its fries, which were last overhauled in November 2010.

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This time around, the company began with 20 different cuts, then tested the fries at restaurants. According to Wendy’s, its new fries are preferred nearly two to one over McDonald’s, a detail that is mentioned in the campaign breaking on TV tonight.

The TV ads, in 15-second and 30-second versions, depict dreary drive-thru experiences, with dark backgrounds and canned voices through speaker boxes. Rather than "do you want fries with that?" the Wendy's order conversation begins with, "Welcome to Wendy's. What would you like with your hot and crispy fries?"

VMLY&R worked on the commercials and the rest of the campaign.

While Wendy’s and its burger rivals are clearly known for their hamburgers and other sandwiches, fries are big business. Nearly three-quarters of Wendy’s lunch and dinner orders include fries, Loredo said. 

Other plans include social activations, connecting with gamers on Twitch and elsewhere, and working with third-party delivery partners to promote the fries. VMLY&R even helped Wendy’s with the training video viewed by its restaurant workers on how to prepare the new fries. 

On social, Mike “Chef Mike” Haracz, a former McDonald’s chef who has been in Wendy’s ads before, will return to his newer role as Wendy’s fan—he previously promoted its breakfast sandwiches—to promote the fries.

“I personally sent the fries to him because I knew he’d love them,” said Loredo. “You can expect to see him jumping in on social.”

Wendy’s has been sampling the fries at college football games in recent weeks, including activations at the Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame game on Sept. 25 and the Penn State vs. Iowa game on Oct. 9. 

The No. 2 burger chain appears to be anticipating a big boost in fries sales, making sure suppliers have enough potatoes at the ready.

“We are staying close with our partners and as of right now we’re in good shape with regard to fries,” said Loredo.

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