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Published January 17, 2017

Wendy’s, you guys have a problem.

There’s an epidemic going on. I’m sure if you’ve been on the internet in the last few weeks, you’ve noticed it too. It doesn’t take a savvy eye to notice the tricks that the world is playing on us. I am of course talking about Wendy’s usage of the may may’s in an attempt to promote their business. And it needs to stop.

NOTE: I am fully aware, that my post is sure to attract more attention to this issue, and I realize the best course of action to actually quell this is to not talk about it. Making fun on Wendy’s won’t make them stop, it will encourage them to continue. This is all in good fun and I don’t actually care. Yes, I am a hypocrite.

Wendy’s is attempting to capitalize on internet culture to promote their business. And I don’t blame them. However, when using memes, you have to be subtle, or else it comes across as too 55-year-old-big-bang-theory-ish. Wendy’s can kind of do this. Their Twitter is pretty good, and as soon as you comment memes, especially current hot memes like Overwatch and Pepes, you get plenty of exposure from Facebook posts going “DID THEY JUST” or “WHO MADE THIS?” Twitter’s retweet function also guarantees plenty of exposure, because believe it or not, Twitter memes are hot. This could also potentially lead to the ratchet Twitter community posting about this, which could then learn to subreddits like r/blackpeopletwitter, and then it just spreads like wildfire. More exposure means more shares and retweets. Take a look at this heartfelt article posted by the Wendy’s twitter:

It’s touching, right? A fast food restaurant that gave food to homeless people before they were about to close down? They even through in a “youth movement” buzzword to attract the attention of more people and make this even more positive. I’m a firm believer in Volunteering leading to positive contributions in adolescents and teenagers, so this image really puts a smile on my face. It got a few hundred favourites, and almost a hundred retweets. That’s awesome.

Now look at this:

This is a video of CNN discussing hard-hitting facts. Wendy’s Twitter beef with a customer. This has 2600 favourites and 1100 retweets. Furthermore, this wasn’t even posted by Wendy’s. This was re-tweeted by them, so they spread it to an even wider audience of 1.22M followers. The memes have overtaken acts of kindness. And yes, I am fully aware that the example I used previously is propaganda for a company that slaughters countless animals and probably a lot of other junk, but still, it is a positive, tangible change.

What started this initial Twitter craze was Wendy’s beef with a customer on Twitter. Now, I am going to be quoting a scientifically reviewed website, knowyourmeme.com for this issue. A Twitter user by the name of “Thuggy-D” questioned Wendy’s claim to fame; Their never frozen food. He scathingly, and I mean savagely, there were no survivors, said this to Wendy’s: “your beef is frozen and we all know it. Y’all know we laugh at your slogan “fresh, never frozen” right? Like you’re really a joke.”

And after some back and forth, Wendy’s coyly mentioned “there are other places to store beef than a freezer”. Which leads to the most savage insult in history that shook up the world for approximately 2 seconds: “You don’t have to bring them ibto this just because you forgot refrigerators existed for a second there.”

Boom. Done. Everybody just dead. According to Knowyourmeme, this tweet got, and I quote: ” nearly 62,000 retweets and 153,000 likes.” Now think about this from Wendy’s perspective. You are a fast-food burger chain who plays second-fiddle to McDonalds. Wendy’s was never as popular McDonalds, and according to revenue statistics from Food Drink & Franchise, Wendy’s is the fourth most Profitable fast-food restaurant in America, with McDonalds in first by a comparative landslide. So imagine you’re the Wendy’s Twitter, and for the first time, you got this ridiculous exposure for roasting a customer on Twitter. You get exposure and positive feedback from, let’s be honest, insulting a customer. What do you do? Do you return to being the generic, stoic business that remains profitable, but not as profitable as desired? Or do you capitalize on this opportunity to gain more exposure on the internet and drive more customers to your product? People are already heuristically intrigued by positive and visually appealing imagery, why not pursue this light, campy persona? And they did. Oh god, did they pursue the memes.

People wanted to be roasted by Wendy’s, I guess for more exposure to themselves but because there was a crack shown in a business that was once stoic. But i’m not going to lie, some of these are hilarious. Here’s a compilation if you want to see their best roasts, but my personal favourite is a girl named Mika asking Wendy’s where the nearest McDonalds is, and their response being this:

That got 13000 retweets. That’s amazing. It showed that Wendy’s had some brevity and could be open to its customers.

So, if that’s all harmless fun, what’s the issue? They just post memes and roasts to people, right? Well there are a few problems with that. The first is that Wendy’s pursuing memes is nothing new. They have been attempting to capitalize on Internet culture for the past few years, and they have been failing miserably at it.

Try to watch this video and see if you don’t curl up in shame. The Memer, was their first bit of advertisement that attempted to utilize memes to promote their business, but it failed to understand internet culture. Firstly, this was an outdated meme. It used outdated meme text, and it was a joke that didn’t make any sense. They add “like a boss” at the end of it, which was also 3 years past its expiration date. Now, there is a difference between “real life time” and “internet time”. 3 years in real life time doesn’t sound like a whole lot of time. But, 3 years in internet time is over a decade. Trends go so fast on the internet, that if you attempt to utilize memes, your advertisement will swiftly become dated within a few months. Memes die very quickly. The memes that shine the brightest in popularity snuff out that light the quickest. It’s why you don’t see Rage Comics anymore. They were overutilized and over saturated on the meme market to the point where the mere presence of them ticked people off. So this show’s Wendy’s laggard mentality when it comes to internet culture for their Television advertisements. And that is a problem. Tweets are one thing, but Television ads have much more staying power, and can be repeated to viewers much more frequently. TV ads also have much more visual stimuli and memorable imagery for the viewer. Note how Wendy’s uses the colour “red” a lot. Red, in North American Culture, signifies passion and fire. Red is a striking colour, and Wendy’s wants to get your attention with their advertisment. Making an actually well-calculated meme on Twitter is fine, because Tweets in general become irrelevant over time. Nobody remembers a Tweet about a deal on a burger 2 months after it’s made. People have way too much stuff in their life to possibly remember that. People will move onto the next trend or the next thing that catches their attention. And hey, I guess “The Memer” resonated with me after I first saw it, so I suppose it did its job. But it didn’t make me want to go to Wendy’s. It made me want to make a video making fun of Wendy’s. This ad doesn’t make the Spicy Chicken burger look appealing. The memory of “The Memer” will be constantly associated with it, rather than some positive filipino-kid-ukelele that usually plays during FIFA pack openings.

The second problem with this ad is just how forced it is. Like they’re talking about how dope this spicy chicken sandwich is, and then Wendy’s lady just goes “just ask the memer his opinion”. Like it comes out of left field and has no subtlety whatsoever. That’s another big problem, this meme is right in your face and has absolutely nothing to do with the product. A joke becomes unfunny and sticks out if it has nothing to do with the content at hand. It’s why a lot of Family Guy’s cutaway gags fail, because they are completely unrelated to the plot of the episode. The presence of The Memer is such pandering to internet culture, that they’re going to get ridiculed. Memes are stupid, they’re idiotic, but I love them. A lot of people love them. You can’t possibly escape their “XD so relate” qualities. They are dumb, relatble jokes at this current point, and they are the ultimate inside joke. They have become synonymous with the word “joke” at this point. When I scroll through my fb feed, I see garbage. But I expect garbage. I expect political garbage, I expect targeted ads, I expect propaganda, I expect cheese-filled cooking videos, I expect garbage memes. It has become so engrained in the internet browsing experience, that them popping up out of nowhere is business as usual. A meme popping up in an advertisment about a burger, from a company that is usually calculated and deliberate with their advertisements is textbook pandering, and the consumers of internet culture know it. We all know it’s uncomfortable and forced and just does not work…

So they did it again in December of 2016. One month before writing this, Wendy’s did the exact same thing again. They repeated the same formula as The Memer. Talk about how good their burger is, shove in an unrelated meme that, hey, is hot at the time. At least there was some improvement. It’s notable that this occured right after The Twitter roasts and Wendy’s posting pictures of Pepe’s. They saw that memes could be profitable, but didn’t understand why it worked on Twitter. See, it was fine on Twitter because Twitter businesses are uber serious and to the point. It’s pretty much used just for advertisements. Once they break that mold, all hell breaks loose. But again, this ad is low budget and isn’t even very appealing. Like, it just looks like it was cobbled together in a few hours and done on a single take, and they just went with it. Hell, I could do a better ad than this. The acting is terrible the Bee Movie meme is ham-fisted, and guess what? Everybody hates this ad. And there are also these, awkward, terrible giant lips on the bees, it’s just horribly unfunny, and I can’t even tell what the product is advertising. It’s garbage.

So, this leads me to the penultimate point: Wendy’s the memes need to stop. The usage of memes in advertisements detracts from their entire point, and nobody finds them appealing. People don’t like to see memes in places they don’t expect them. Your Twitter memes were a surprise, but that’s Twitter, which is loaded with Memes. A completely forced Bee Movie joke, and the Memer are horrible and don’t encourage people to buy your product. Memes are fads. They come and go, and are completely forgotten. And I understand if you want to use memes to make a terrible ad that makes the ad memorable. Yes, people remember the ad, but they don’t remember it for YOUR product. They remember it because of your misunderstanding of internet culture. The memes date your ad and make them uncomfortable. When A&W tried to do it, it was terrible. But they ACTUALLY realized there was a problem with it, and took their product seriously. They know they’re lame and they make fun of themselves for it. They use jokes that don’t rely on people to know a reference. A reference is NOT A JOKE. A reference is a reference. Memes are essentially inside jokes at this point. By focusing the ad on an inside joke, you repel the audience you are trying to pander to, and ostracize potential buyers.

But that’s the end of my pointless rant. I understand that this video brings awareness to their memes, and I know this issue is ultimately pointless, but I hope that, by the off-chance you’re watching this Wendy’s, please stop using memes and take yourself seriously. people will respect you a lot more for that.

 

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