By Jack Buseck
The trend of snarky, rude, or condescending banter on social media from companies like Wendy’s has taken Internet culture by storm this past year.
In attempts to garner attention from the younger generation, companies have taken a new approach to marketing, and for some it’s been a huge success.
At the forefront of this new marketing phenomenon is Wendy’s and its Twitter account, which has been in the spotlight of many viral tweets and interactions between other restaurants in the past year. Quick wit, funny takes, and hilarious back and forth disses have put Wendy’s on the throne of this new social marketing strategy.
Students on campus have taken notice of Wendy’s relentless Twitter antics as well. “I personally think Wendy’s Twitter page is hilarious,” says freshman Coledon Kramer. “I think it’s a great marketing technique because it’s not only getting Wendy’s name out there but they are also appealing to a larger and younger audience through funny social media.”
Perhaps the answer is relatability and a distinct brand personality that is created through these funny Tweets or posts. It is pretty out of the ordinary to see two fast food restaurants duking it out through Twitter, and that random, out-of-the-ordinary content is what is so enjoyable and genuinely funny about these accounts posting the content they post. Maybe Wendy’s fearless humor and sarcasm has gone so viral because people think it is hilarious that a fast food spot is choosing to roast its rivals and those who come to talk trash on Twitter.
Wendy’s has also seen a ton of success in the fact that it can constantly deliver funny content on a regular basis that doesn’t get too stale or repetitive over time. The account has managed to keep up with all the latest pop culture trends, whether it be memes, sports, or major events, Wendy’s always seems to have a bead on the newest social media crazes.
Experts say the result of this success comes from companies not worrying so much about intricacies and giving employees more rein on tactics or strategies. Wendy’s Chief Concept and Marketing Officer Kurt Kane told AdWeek that this popularity didn’t happen overnight. He stated that Wendy’s used to be a very bureaucratic place with too many layers of approval and little empowerment. Giving social media managers a chance to call the shots has quite obviously come as a benefit for Wendy’s, however there are still some mistakes the company needs to be weary off.
“We want to be likable and sassy. We don’t want to be seen as sarcastic and rude. But we walk a fine line. Sometimes we get it wrong in tone,” Kane said in the AdWeek article. Kane said the positive buzz from social media has helped Wendy’s sales as well, playing a major role in turning Wendy’s traffic from negative to positive.
Other companies such as Hamburger Helper have also hopped on the wave, going as far as to drop a mixtape highlighting different aspects of the company and its products. Wendy’s also dropped a mixtape surrounding its numerous conflicts with other restaurants as well as songs promoting fresh and natural ingredients. Both mixtapes received surprisingly good reviews, and Wendy’s even saw time on the Spotify viral list.
As we progress further into the digital age, marketing is only set to get more and more out of the ordinary in order to appeal to younger and more digitally oriented audiences. Relatability and humor is seeming to become the most important tactics in the arsenal for companies like Wendy’s. Only time will tell where companies choose to go in the increasingly competitive world of social media marketing.