By: Casey Weinfurtner

It’s time to sing sweet passionate love songs to your… Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger? Yes, this isn’t a joke. And it may just be Wendy’s most successful social media campaign yet.

Wendy’s 2013 summer release of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger exploded across social media when Nick Lachey, former member of 98 Degrees, signed onto the campaign. Customers were asked to share their praise for the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger by including the hashtag #PretzelLoveSongs in their Twitter posts. All the pretzel love was then created into a music video series with Nick Lachey compiling words of the #PretzelLoveSongs tweets to hilariously serenade the burger.

NickLacheyTweet

Misspellings, hashtags and all, the goofy love songs were a hit. Or in the words of CNBC’s Jim Cramer – “genius.”

The initial video launch inspired the campaign to continue for the next seven weeks of summer, and began a five video series dedicated to the beloved Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger. Wendy’s chose to release each new video biweekly throughout the campaign and shared the videos directly to their Facebook page for fans. Though Facebook was a primary tool for viewing the videos, Wendy’s shared their #PretzelLoveSongs through other social media platforms as well (ie. Twitter and YouTube) to increase customer engagement and continue video shares. The campaign response from customers and the media was so high that the Wendy’s brand scored some pretty impressive results too: 7.5 million Facebook views, a 31% stock increase and overall 1.7 billion media impressions. That’s a lot of love for our Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.

#Winning.

So all the buzz, but what drove the success? It’s simple: Wendy’s customers and the right strategy. Wendy’s specifically focused on targeting Millenials for their new sandwich and best kept to that theme by using social media as a platform to reach their audience. Not only was it the right strategic move to ask customers to share their praise over their own social media sites, it also opened the possibility to customers that their post might be Lachey’s next love song (an undeniable incentive to join in on the light-hearted fun).

Point blank, Wendy’s put their customers in control and it was a rather intelligent move. Rather than throwing advertisements in the faces of their customers, their new sandwich earned its recognition by content created by the customers themselves. They were asked to engage with the brand and ultimately drove the success of the summer sandwich.

“Our fans are the stars, directors and writers of #PretzelLoveSongs,” Craig Bahner, Wendys chief marketing officer shared over the campaign. “Consumers’ viral outpouring for the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger drove our inspiration for these entertaining videos” (PR Newswire).

But the success of this social media campaign didn’t just stop there – the #PretzelLoveSongs made a comeback in 2014. It seemed Wendy’s customers were so in love with the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger they wanted to keep that passionate conversation going. Wendy’s signed a deal this time around with Boyz II and at the end of their video series made the big announcement all fans had been waiting for – the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger was permanently here to stay.

Now that they’ve scored a two-time success through the #PretzelLoveSongs social media campaign, how can Wendy’s continue their smart choice of marketing to customers? The answer lies in the number of impressions they first gained: 1.7 billion. That’s too great of a number to ignore and clearly shows how intensely a message can hit your audience when you use social media platforms creatively and effectively.

Engage with your customers through social conversation. Give your customers a chance to involve themselves on a personal level with your brand. Show your customers you’ll give them what they want.

And hey, maybe you’ll even sing them a love song.

References 

Horovitz, B. (2014, June 17). Wendy’s pretzel burger makes a comeback. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/06/17/wendys-pretzel-burger-pretzel-bun-pretzel-trend-fast-food-restaurants/10668547/

The Hit Of The Summer: Nick Lachey’s Final Love Song to Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-hit-of-the-summer-nick-lacheys-final-love-song-to-wendys-pretzel-bacon-cheeseburger-220181861.html

Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Love Songs – Think with Google. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2015, from https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/campaigns/wendys-pretzel-bacon-cheeseburger-love-songs.html

Martin, J. (n.d.). 14 Must-See Social Media Marketing Success Stories. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://www.cio.com/article/2369784/social-media/155992-14-Must-See-Social-Media-Marketing-Success-Stories.html#slide5

Morrison, M. (n.d.). Wendy’s Signs Nick Lachey to Foist Its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger on the World. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://adage.com/article/news/wendy-s-nick-lachey-serenade-pretzel-bacon-burger/242982/