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December 10, 2007

Wendy’s: Your Slogan is What?


This past Friday night, the Krause family decided to take in a hockey game. I don’t really understand hockey. I’m still trying to figure out how you can have an off-sides penalty when there’s no line of scrimmage.


But seven-year-old T.F. Krause loves the sport for some reason, so Mrs. Krause and I took him to see our local team play an opponent that I think was called the Crunch, or maybe the Crush, or maybe the Smash.


At any rate, since hockey is boring, I started looking at the ads along the boards and, after doing a double take, confirmed that I was indeed looking at an ad that said the following:


“Wendy’s. That’s right.™”


That’s right. That’s what it said. “That’s right.”


Wendy’s is an interesting operation. As this column has discussed previously, when you pull up to the drive-through window, they don’t ask you what you want. They ask, “How are you?” Thus far I’ve resisted the urge to tell them about my bunions (assuming I actually have bunions, and don’t you just want to know), but some day when I’m bored, one never knows.


But when it comes to advertising taglines, who came up with “That’s right™”?


I’ve had some exposure to the advertising business. I know that a tagline is supposed to grab the attention of the audience while saying something compelling about the product or brand. Brevity can be king. “Just do it” speaks to an attitude that has made Nike millions. “It’s in the game” proclaims EA Sports to be the center of the action.


Advertising creative types like to try to come up with the next famous, award-winning brand positioning. Sometimes they are a little too clever for their own good. I can imagine how this creative session went.


“We need something bold!”


“Right! Like the grizzle they re-use in the chili! Something daring!”


“That’s right!”


“That’s it!”


“What’s it?”


“That’s right!”


“What’s right?”


“That’s right!”


“That’s what I’m asking you!”


“Don’t you see? It’s bold! It’s the answer you want to every question you could possibly ask!”


“I’m still waiting for the answer!!!”


“If we make ‘That’s right’ the tagline, we’ll be declaring to the world that the most correct answer you can possibly have for any question is Wendy’s!”


“You want to make ‘That’s right’ the tagline?”


“That’s right!”


“What? No! That’s wrong! That’s not a tagline! It’s an affirmation!”


“Isn’t that what a tagline should be?”


Mr. Italics wins the debate and gets to present the idea to the client, who is skeptical at first, but Mr. Italics can be persistent, and by the end of the presentation he has convinced Wendy’s executives that “That’s right” will persuade hungry burger-seekers and bored hockey patrons everywhere to buy the square patties that were juicy 20 years ago, which is why they no longer use the tagline “Hot and Juicy” in case you hadn’t noticed.


It occurred to me that you could actually use the tagline “That’s right” for absolutely anything. Paper bags. Hot dog buns. Disposable douches.


“Summer’s Eve Disposable Douche. That’s right!”


You could use it for anything at all. And I guess it’s occurred to the folks at Wendy’s as well, which is why they have actually trademarked the phrase “That’s right™.”


That’s right. You can’t say it anymore. It’s their intellectual property.


Oops. I’m in trouble now.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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