Wendy’s gets spicy, but not scary spicy

Wendy’s is launching a limited time chicken sandwich—which it’s calling the spiciest sandwich it has ever offered—with a campaign that comes alive when most people are sound asleep.

The “Scarier Than Spice” campaign for the Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken sandwich is built around the idea that some people may be afraid of the sandwich’s spicy heat.

McCann creative team of Bill Schaeffer and Amy O’Neill used that insight for the campaign, which tells consumers that the new sandwich is hot, but it’s nothing to be scared of.

“The new Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken sandwich takes spice to a whole new level,” said Schaeffer and O’Neill in an email. “We knew spice-lovers would be in no matter what, but also wanted to invite people who were maybe a bit more afraid of spice to give it a try. After all, there’re scarier things than spice.”

There’s a traditional TV spot for the campaign, but on social the scary theme arises between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.—the “witching hour” when, according to folklore, demons, ghosts and witches are at their most powerful.

Beginning May 3, National Paranormal Day, each night at 3 a.m. Wendy’s Twitter account asks people to tweet a story that is scarier than Ghost Pepper spice for a chance at rewards.

“We know the ‘offering’ happening at 3 a.m. is not going to reach a mass audience,” said Schaeffer and O’Neill. “But we love anything that makes people feel special, or rewarded, even something as spooky as a limited-time offer during the Witching Hour.”

David Brown