Wendy’s highly anticipated rollout of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger kicked off this week with what the Dublin, Ohio-based brand is calling a “360 marketing campaign” encompassing national TV and radio, outdoor billboards, and a celebrity-focused digital-marketing campaign.

The 6,500-unit chain’s latest twist in its marketing for the latest limited-time offer was a Pretzel Love Songs live event, in which recording artist and reality-TV star Nick Lachey sang a ballad crafted from Wendy’s fans’ tweets about the new cheeseburger. Lachey performed the song live in New York City, singing such lines as, “Y’all it’s like everything glorious in one sandwich, #IsThisRealLife.”

Wendy’s will compile a list of Lachey’s favorite tweets marked with the #PretzelLoveSongs hash tag and make a finale video, which will debut in August.

Chief marketing officer Craig Bahner noted in a statement that the video and event with Lachey would “amplify [fans’] love” for the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger by incorporating their tweets in the brands’ advertising, which is similar to how brands like Domino’s Pizza, Taco Bell or Dunkin’ Donuts have streamed Twitter comments on their billboards in Times Square.

“One of my favorite tweets from a consumer: ‘Just took my first bite of @Wendys Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and I think my soul just smiled,” Bahner said.

English- and Spanish-language commercials for the limited-time offer also debuted July 8. A national TV spot starring the chain’s redheaded spokeswoman features her and her friends enjoying Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburgers, which a latecomer mistakes for his favorite cheeseburger on a pretzel bun from “that little pub” in town.

With this latest promotion, Wendy’s is also adapting its Hispanic-media strategy to its national advertising for the first time, the company said. A national commercial will carry the chain’s “Mucho Mejor” Spanish tagline — a loose Spanish translation of its “Now that’s better” slogan — in a multicultural commercial blending both English and Spanish. In the spot, a girl lists her favorite features of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, in Spanish, while her date repeats them in English.

Humorously, the camera pans out to reveal that the young couple is actually at Wendy’s with her family, and the date ends with the father sitting between them. The same Hispanic family, which the company has named the Rojos, debuted in May in Wendy’s national commercial for the Frosty Waffle Cone.

Industry watchers expect a big lift to Wendy’s third-quarter same-store sales due to projections for the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.

In a July 9 research note, securities analyst Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets reiterated the firm’s prior projection that the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger could drive a same-store sales increase of 5 percent or more in Wendy’s third quarter, based on Kalinowski’s interviews with industry sources.

“In addition,” he wrote, “we believe that the pretzel bun being used is a very good example of a unique bread carrier. Expect more of this type of premium innovation from Wendy’s in 2014 and beyond.”

The Wendy’s Co. is expected to report second-quarter earnings July 23.

The brand operates or franchises more than 6,500 locations in the United States and 27 foreign markets.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN