In an era of 5-second attention spans and overwrought Instagram ads (Fit Tea, we get it already), establishing brand loyalty without resorting to promotions or discounts has become a tricky business. Consumers are increasingly skeptical about the algorithm-crafted messaging that comes flooding their way, but also crave an emotional connection to their content.

Customers Roasting on a Fast Food Fire

Take some advice from a fiery redhead known for eschewing frozen beef for the real thing.

Over the past few years, Wendy’s has become social media famous for its roasts, jokes, and general online trollery. The company went from blandly answering consumer complaints to, well, answering the question “Where’s the beef?” with an enthusiastic “right here” to any poor soul they came across.

In perhaps the first instance of this pivot, the Wendy’s team blasts a hostile Twitter warrior for not knowing what a refrigerator is.

 

 

 

 

This was only the beginning. Soon, they began taking on their competitors, directly:

 

And indirectly:

 

They even began roasting their own customers (at their request):

 

So the real question is… why? What Mad Men-level ad exec could have predicted that skewering your competitors as well as your consumer base would pay off big time?

Authenticity and approachability—that’s what Wendy’s is banking on. This fast-food-social-media-royalty-hybrid has given a peek behind the corporate mystique to reveal they’re just like us, warts and all. They, like you, relish the accessibility that social media provides and loathe how it brings out the worst in us all. The brand team has taken this feeling and distilled it into a snarky, deliciously sarcastic persona. They show you how a logo becomes much more than the product, without any phony posturing or transparent pandering.

Burn em down and build em back up – the new way to thrill and keep customers interested. Oh yeah, and their burgers aren’t too bad either.