Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

HOME

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Care to Join Me for Lunch at Wendy's?

It is lunch time. Who would like to join me for a trip to Wendy's? I bet we will be ordering a couple cups of chili, right?

Wrong?

I am fairly certain that none of you would be interested in my offer.

And that's because Wendy's is smack in the midst of a huge PR debacle ... perhaps one of the worst such crises in many, many years. The New York Times has a great article about the situation in today's version. It is an insightful, well written piece that explores and highlights the inner workings of a PR crisis, including the effects on Wendy's, its leadership team and the affected customer, Ms. Ayala.

The company has 6,600 stores. In California, where the incident occurred, sales at Wendy's stores have declined 20% to 50%. Sales have to be down across the whole corporation. I would be surprised if Wendy's sales are not down more than 10% as a whole.

So far, they have been working through press conferences and statements. Those were precisely the right first steps. Now, according to the NY Times story, Wendy's is giving out free milkshakes all weekend in 48 stores across Northern California.

A free milkshake? C'mon. You have to be joking! I am not going to place anything from Wendy's in my mouth--free or purchased--until I am assured that they have the problem under control and that this cannot and will not happen again.

My advice: Wendys needs to get out in front of the public on TV in paid ads that are not filtered by the media. I need to see the chairman of the company on TV in a straight-talk advertisement. I am recalling Lee Iacoca with Chrysler in the early '80s. Wendy's needs to be telling America--and telling us on prime time network TV--what it is doing to address the matter.

This is a national, major retail mega-brand. America needs to see Chairman Schuessler in a serious gray suit, conservative tie, in front of a plain backdrop. And every person in America needs to see that message at least three times. Put it on during Oprah ... during The Apprentice ... during Survivor ... and during Everybody Loves Raymond. (Not during CSI!)

To be sure, that campaign will cost millions of dollars. But what is a 10% nationwide downturn costing? What is the long-term accrued damage to the brand?

[And for the record, I like Wendy's food and its stores. I like that they have healthy menu options. My family has patronized Wendy's stores in the past.]

6 Comments:

Anonymous Len LaCara said...

So now that the woman has been arrested, how do you handle the damage she caused? Do you rely on public sentiment to swing your way, or do something a little more aggressive? Seems to me that something more than free milkshakes is needed, but you don't want to prolong the fiasco any longer than necessary.

And there probably would be a delicious irony if Wendy's sued her, but there isn't much point to that.

11:35 AM

 
Anonymous Len LaCara said...

So now that the woman has been arrested, how do you handle the damage she caused? Do you rely on public sentiment to swing your way, or do something a little more aggressive? Seems to me that something more than free milkshakes is needed, but you don't want to prolong the fiasco any longer than necessary.

And there probably would be a delicious irony if Wendy's sued her, but there isn't much point to that.

11:35 AM

 
Anonymous Len LaCara said...

So now that the woman has been arrested, how do you handle the damage she caused? Do you rely on public sentiment to swing your way, or do something a little more aggressive? Seems to me that something more than free milkshakes is needed, but you don't want to prolong the fiasco any longer than necessary.

And there probably would be a delicious irony if Wendy's sued her, but there isn't much point to that.

11:35 AM

 
Anonymous Len LaCara said...

So now that the woman has been arrested, how do you handle the damage she caused? Do you rely on public sentiment to swing your way, or do something a little more aggressive? Seems to me that something more than free milkshakes is needed, but you don't want to prolong the fiasco any longer than necessary.

And there probably would be a delicious irony if Wendy's sued her, but there isn't much point to that.

11:41 AM

 
Anonymous Len LaCara said...

So now that the woman has been arrested, how do you handle the damage she caused? Do you rely on public sentiment to swing your way, or do something a little more aggressive? Seems to me that something more than free milkshakes is needed, but you don't want to prolong the fiasco any longer than necessary.

And there probably would be a delicious irony if Wendy's sued her, but there isn't much point to that.

12:11 PM

 
Blogger Rick Lee said...

I assumed it was a hoax from the beginning. I've consumed several Mandaran Chicken Salads and a few boxes of yummy chicken strips since the "crisis" began. I'm glad they got the goods on the perpetrator.

Rick Lee
http://rickleephoto.blogspot.com

9:44 PM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home