Wendy’s Uses Stealth Twitter Campaign To Introduce New Burger

Wendy's Uses @GirlBehindSix and Twitter Promotions To Launch New Burger

New Yorkers walking down 6th Avenue or riding the 6 subway line may have been baffled at first by recent mysterious ads for @GirlBehindSix, which described it as a “140-character game show.” But that simple promotion, plus a one-day Promoted Trend on Twitter, generated 33,000 followers for @GirlBehindSix, which was a front for the promotion of a new burger at the Wendy’s fast-food restaurant chain.

The Six referred to an open slot on Wendy’s menu, which was then filled by the new $2.99 W burger.

People who figured out that the “140-character game show” referred to Twitter flocked to the site, which at first didn’t show affiliation with Wendy’s. By following @GirlBehindSix, retweeting the contest rules or sending photos of “where a tasty #SIX is missing” they competed to win prizes such as a remote control helicopter, a La-Z-Boy recliner, a bobblehead of their own pet, a voice activated R2D2 or an espresso and cappuccino maker.

 @GirlBehindSix, Wendy's Stealth Twitter Campaign

According to a story on Mashable, the stealth ad campaign launched on October 6th, and the game show – managed by ad agency Kaplan Thaler Group — started on October 31st and concluded November 14th. Its goal was to offer as prizes things people wanted, but wouldn’t buy for themselves.

The game show’s draw was impressive. Its Klout score that went from zero to 72 and certainly outdid the 3,500 followers for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, which spent far more money on TV advertising and a Twitter campaign that also provided prizes to build its followers.

When the promotion concluded last Monday, Wendy’s revealed its affiliation with @GirlBehindSix – and began the more difficult process of migrating its new followers over to its Wendy’s Twitter account, which has about 48,000 followers.

Is this campaign clever, or too complicated? Will Wendy’s be able to transfer a significant amount of @GirlBehindSix’s followers to the @Wendys account, and will ‘W’ burger sales get off to a strong start from the social media buzz?

  • brhoten

    Appreciate the coverage of our effort, John. The goal was to create conversations around the new combo/cheeseburger and test this platform to see if it’s viable for something as big as a launch. Both goals were met, so we’re happy with the outcome and plan to come up with future launches that utilize micro-blogging (and Twitter specifically). If you want more insight on the program, you can catch me on Twitter @brhoten (between meetings, anyway). –Brandon Rhoten, Digital Director at Wendy’s

    • eckhouse

      @brhoten It seems to have been very successful Brandon. It will be interesting to see if you’re able to move all those followers over into being followers of Wendy’s on Twitter. Let us know how that works out!

      • brhoten

        @eckhouse Actually, moving folks to @wendys is really just icing on the cake. Would be great to get folks connected to us for future efforts, but the conversations themselves were the real driver!

        • @brhoten@eckhouse Brandon – I love that you say “the conversations were the real driver. I’m curious – did you have any metrics or business goals attached to that? ie: how do you convince someone there’s value in the conversations in and of themselves? thanks!

        • brhoten

          @tonia_ries@eckhouse Absolutely– a total number of desired interactions was defined in advance, and the budget and all awareness tactics (e.g. promoted trend) were determined based on achieving that number. We beat our ROI by over 25%, actually, and it ain’t even over yet. Good stuff. –Brandon

        • @brhoten@eckhouse thanks for sharing all this additional info, Brandon – and congrats on the successful campaign!

  • Sounds clever, good thing the mystery of Wendy’s involvement was seen as mystery and not lack of transparency. Nice trick because most companies fall right off that tightrope.

    What’s with moving the followers over though? They’re engaged, the ones who stayed after the reveal — apparently the vast majority — are happy. Why not leave them there and treat them as a special, separate group? With enough retweets from the Wendy’s account, they’ll probably listen to both channels anyway. What exactly is broken that moving the followers from one account to another will fix?

    • @Tinu great question. Maybe @brhoten can weigh in — why make the effort to move the followers over at all? (Tinu explains an interesting alternative strategy in the comment above)

    • brhoten

      @Tinu We’re a pretty tight team– to maintain two separate handles and keep content flowing may be tough to sustain for more than a few weeks. We also have some big plans in the works that require a lot of time and attention. Interesting perspective, though, and really appreciate the thought. –Brandon

      • Thanks for responding. :) I didn’t presume you’d be updating both channels at the same frequency. I guess if you are and resources are tight, I can see why. @brhoten

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