Thursday, May 28, 2015
Wendy's Begs For Salad Authenticity
Wendy's, known for its Old-Fashioned Hamburgers, recently began touting its salads in a commercial titled "Wedding." The commercial takes direct aim at casual chains such as Panera Bread. It challenges consumers to look beyond the big fancy bowl they're served in and instead look at the ingredients in the bowl.
Wendy's plea for logic does make sense. After all, consumers aren't eating the bowl. However, I would contend that it will be easier and likely cheaper for Wendy's to serve their salads in fancier bowls going forward than it will be to convince consumers it's serving a better salad.
It's a matter of strategy. Ironically, Wendy's is paying to run television commercials that essentially argue that branding doesn't matter. The reason that consumers don't believe fast-food joints can have fresh, hand-prepped produce and hot grilled chicken is because they never been known to. Although fast-feeders like Wendy's may serve salads, the main menu is still burgers galore. It's been Wendy's point of pride ever since Dave Thomas introduced his signature square burger patty to demonstrate that they would not cut any corners.
Unfortunately for Wendy's, it's logic argument doesn't make real marketing sense. Like it or not, consumers form their beliefs from cues picked up during the entire experience, not simply from what's consumed (branding = total experience). So, even though they don't eat the bowl, it and many other factors are a big parts of the equation to consumers. Consumer logic says that if they care enough about the bowl the salad comes in, then they must care about the ingredients they put in them.
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