Wendy’s is asking Canadians to show its lettuce some love

Pity the poor lettuce. Despite being the central ingredient in most salads, it gets almost no love: always overlooked in favour of “sexier” ingredients like bacon, chicken, apples, tomatoes, pecans, avocado, etc.

And what about its place on so many fast-food burgers? Well, it’s usually an afterthought: a wilted, soggy adornment with all of the consistency and taste of wet paper towel. It deserves a better fate.

Enter Wendy’s Canada, which says it is upping its lettuce game. The chain announced last week that it is introducing Canadian greenhouse-grown lettuce to all of its salads and sandwiches at its 384 locations across the country. According to Wendy’s, the greenhouse-grown crop uses up to 90% less water and no pesticides.

Now the QSR chain wants to know how its garden salad grows, and it’s engaging in some pseudo-science to find out as part of a national campaign.

We’ve all heard the old claim that talking to plants helps them grow, and a 2015 study by the Royal Horticultural Society proved there’s actually some proof that it’s true. Now Wendy’s is putting that idea to the test.

Developed by McCann Canada, the “Grown With Love” campaign is inviting Canadians to send encouraging tweets to  Wendy’s lettuce using the #GrownWithLove hashtag. The tweets will be read to the lettuce being grown in Wendy’s test greenhouse for two hours every day. Another batch will be grown without Canadians’ affection and positive encouragement, and Wendy’s will show the progress of the two crops during a July 29 live-stream event.

Cameras in the greenhouse will track the progress of both groups of lettuce to prove (or perhaps disprove) the idea that talking to plants helps them grow.

“When the team at McCann presented the #GrownWithLove idea to us, it was an immediate ‘yes’ from everyone on our team,” said Wendy’s Canada director of marketing Lisa Deletroz.

“Now more than ever, we’re seeing people engage with local food. Canadians are especially hungry for local and sustainable produce—and we are thrilled to introduce our new lettuce to feed that desire.”

All of the salads made with the “grown with love” lettuce will feature special packaging identifying the lettuce.

The #GrownWithLove campaign includes TV, online video, digital and social. In addition to McCann Canada, Wendy’s media AOR Initiative, provided media support, with PR AOR Ketchum overseeing communications around the campaign.

Chris Powell