Wendy’s kicks at the darkness

Who: Wendy’s, with McCann for creative and strategy, Craft Toronto for production, and Initiative for media.

What: “Wendy’s Melt Lamp,” a lamp that simulates natural sunlight and takes the shape of a Bacon Portabella Mushroom Melt (BPMM) burger—both meant to help chase away the blues of a dark, cold Canadian winter.

When & Where: The campaign is live now until Feb. 12, with TV, online video, digital / search, and social (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat). A Melt Lamp giveaway was held on Jan. 16 (AKA Blue Monday), supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

Why: The BPMM is typically available for a limited time in December, but with the schedule moved to January this year, Wendy’s wanted a campaign to tell consumers it was finally coming back.

The original ask was for online video, TV and digital deliverables, said McCann creative director Amy O’Neill. “But we always want to explore how each campaign idea could extend beyond traditional media.

“We’re always trying to tap into culture with Wendy’s. Because Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Mushroom Melt was launching in January—the darkest, dreariest, blandest time of the year—we knew we needed to do something special to bring people a bit of extra joy,” she said.

How: Light therapy is a popular way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but requires special lights that emit more than a standard house lamp. Lux is a measurement of light intensity, and light therapy usually requires about 10,000 lux. (A bright and sunny day exposes you to about 100,000 lux.)

So McCann made the “Melt Lamp,” with a 10,000 lux intensity, in the shape of the popular burger. A Twitter contest on Blue Monday gave fans a chance to win the lamp, while another was given to one particular fan of the BPMM who regularly asked on Wendy’s social posts when the burger would be back. They also created a microsite, MeltLamp.ca to explain that the special lamp “was created to melt away the winter blues, blehs, and blahs.”

“[T]o amplify our traditional media buy we created something that also warms our souls and helps us out in these greyer months,” said McCann creative director Bill Schaefer. “We think that everyone is looking for a bit of comfort during this time of year, and we wanted to provide a real solution to that, but also in a way that felt authentic to the Wendy’s brand.”

Once they came up with the idea for the lamp, a beacon of light in the dreariest month of the year, they started calling it the “bacon of light.”

And we quote: “Wendy’s is all about freshness. Both literally, with their food, and figuratively in the way we think about their advertising,” said O’Neill. “We’re always trying to think of fresh ways to set us apart from our competition.”






David Brown