Wendy’s Karaage Chicken: Top work General Brigadier

WendyFurther evidence that we don’t possess a small island mentality; no, dear readers, here at Decision Marketing we’re a broad church and welcome all-comers, even vegans sometimes, with open arms. Not that our vegan chums will be too interested in this review, sadly, as this week we are mostly talking about Wendy’s, the US fast-food chain.

(Apparently it did offer a vegan dish once, black bean burger with a Southwest theme, made from a blend of black beans, grains, pepper, corn, and carrots with plenty of spices including garlic and chili pepper. No-one liked it, although it is said that vegans still do go to Wendy’s and enjoy adding fries to a bun for a DIY “frywich”.)

Anyway, we digress. Back to this week’s review which takes us 11,704 miles south to New Zealand, where Wendy’s is taking a swipe at KFC to promote its new Karaage Chicken.

Whether it will be running a British version of the campaign when Wendy’s makes its long-awaited return to Blighty later this year remains to be seen, but it has enlisted a Texas National Guard retiree as ambassador of this activity, Brigadier General Sanders; funnily enough one rank higher than the famous KFC Colonel.

In one execution, created by agency Augusto, we see the General Brigadier arriving in New Zealand to sample the new fried chicken, where he is greeted at a Wendy’s like royalty. He then shadows a worker as he pulls some nuggets out of a fryer (asking “Is there a secret recipe with this?”), and goes on to taste test the Wendy’s chicken and a bucket of KFC chicken.

Afterwards, the General Bridgadier declares Wendy’s a “superior fried chicken” and that it will “make the family name proud” as he dumps the KFC bucket into the bin.

In another execution, he walks into what looks like the Oval Office and says: “Howdy New Zealand, I’m here to tell you about Wendy’s new succulent fried chicken, officially endorsed by me, General Brigadier Sanders, that’s one rank higher than Colonel. Now that’s mm-mm good.”

Wendy’s New Zealand chief executive Danielle Lendich said: “Augusto are great to work with, they always come up with ideas that cut through the clutter of our deep pocketed competitors and we always have a bit of fun in the process.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office? Will these ads have us longing to return to the Nineties, when we were regular visitors to the Shaftesbury Avenue branch? Or do we prefer KFC’s recipe, even though it has caused a bit of stir with its ill-timed “Finger Lickin’ Good” campaign? And what about Maccy D’s…where you don’t even have to venture off the sofa thanks to McDelivery, via Uber Eats?

Well, to be honest, we’d never heard of Augusto, but if this is typical of their work, we’d like to see more. It’s a simple enough message and further proof that you don’t need a big budget extravaganza to batter big spending rivals.

So, we say, roll on Wendy’s return to the UK and we’ll have a Homestyle Bacon Jalapeño Chicken please (a juicy chicken breast marinated and breaded in a fiery blend of peppers and spices taken to the next level with pickled jalapeños, Applewood smoked bacon, cheese, crispy fried onions, a savory cheese sauce and a smoky jalapeño sauce).

OK, it’s 720 calories, but what’s not to like?

Decision Marketing Adometer: A Baconatoring 8½ out of ten

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