DUBLIN, OH: Roasting real-life competitors, such as McDonald’s, on social media isn’t enough for Wendy’s anymore. Now the fast-food chain is going after fictional rivals on Fortnite.
Last Thursday, Wendy’s tweeted that it was "dropping in [Greasy Grove] and doing something about these freezers," linking to a Fortnite stream on Twitch. (For those unfamiliar, Greasy Grove is a location in Fortnite Battle Royale, the super-popular online video game).
With members of the brand’s social media team playing the game, the brand live-streamed a Wendy-like red-headed character with pigtails destroying the game’s fictional burger joint Durr Burger repeatedly.
VMLY&R, Wendy’s creative agency, drove the effort. Ketchum raised visibility for it, said Kurt Kane, chief concept and marketing officer at Wendy’s.
"People spent more than 1.5 million total minutes watching Wendy’s tear down Durr Burger and their frozen beef," said Kane. "That’s the equivalent of 3.1 million 30-second TV spots. That all happened on Thursday based on an idea the team came up with that morning."
Wendy’s was mentioned in 43,000 comments on Twitter during the 10-hour livestream. It usually gets mentioned on the platform about 3,000 times per day, said Kane.
The activation also helped Wendy’s answer the question of whether it is on #TeamPizza or #TeamBurger, referring to Fortnite’s fictional fast-food chains Durr Burger and Pizza Pit, which customers had been asking about for weeks.
"One of our core beliefs is that fresh, never-frozen beef is critical to a great hamburger," said Kane, about the inspiration behind this idea. "As we did a bit of digging, we discovered that Durr Burger was filled with freezers to hold their beef and there was no way we could be on #TeamBurger because it is the exact opposite of what we do. That is why we joined #TeamPizza."
The brand also got an assist from Carter Wilkerson of #Nuggs4Carter fame, who promoted the stream and played alongside Wendy’s to help to destroy Durr Burger.
Kane said it is "natural and normal" for Wendy’s to play Fortnite because of the game’s popularity. Asked if Wendy’s plans to wreck any other fictional fast-food restaurants, Kane said the brand will go where its customers are. Fortnite has 200 million registered players, a 60% increase from June. It also has 8.3 million concurrent players on a regular basis, up from 4.3 million in February, according to Forbes.
"We have a war against frozen beef in all territories, and we will go as far and as wide as we have to go to get people away from frozen beef," he said. "If they dare to sell frozen beef, they dare to be destroyed."
On Fortnite, Wendy’s used weapons against Durr Burger including guns, bombs, an axe, and tomatoes. Fortunately, the brand only uses sassy tweets to spar with real-life challengers on social media.