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  • Paul Jankowski

Wendy's Food Shames Competitors Via Smart Music Content

Son of a Baconator®, Wendy’s has done it again. Shout out to my New Heartland homies for creating some epic content that uses music to food shame its competitors. Wendy’s recently released a 5-song mix tape called "we beefin?" highlighting McDonald’s and Burger King’s downfalls.

The mix tape comes at the heels of McDonald’s announcing it would start making some burgers with fresh beef. Immediately following the announcement, Wendy’s published a series of funny tweets protecting its fresh beef selling point. And “the red-head with some pigtails,” as Wendy calls herself in one track, isn’t done defending her place in the fast-food industry.

A Wendy's restaurant in Providence, R.I. on March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Wendy raps in her “Clownin’” track: “Them ‘lil tweets don’t phase me, McDonald's be so lazy. I know the only reason you hatin’ me is ‘cause I’m fast-food’s first lady.”

In another, titled “Twitter Fingers,” she continues: “And, BK don’t you think you got away. You copied my old menu and put it on replay.”

Wendy’s initial Twitter firing storm on McDonald’s was fast, bold and entertaining. And the second phase of Wendy’s offense – the mix tape – is just as good. But the fast-food chain’s content techniques are as smart as they are entertaining.

Here’s what is so smart about Wendy’s leveraging music to protect its brand.

It uses creative content to push a message.

Wendy’s use of music to protect its never-frozen beef differentiator in the marketplace is creative content at its finest. We know content marketing is key to connecting with today’s consumers. Brands must think beyond traditional channels and deliver valuable, engaging content to drive cultural relevancy and brand advocacy.

The platform is pop culture.

I love that Wendy chose to rap about her feelings. Isn’t that what other artists would do? When rappers throw shade to each other, it gets put into lyrics. And if Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are feuding, the mega-stars write hit songs about it. Rap battles are popular in today’s culture, and Wendy’s use of the platform allows the brand to easily and authentically connect with its consumers.

It uses language to which consumers can relate.

Wendy’s chose to use language and a platform to which its consumers could relate – music. Not visual arts or science. Music. Was the burger mogul’s choice of music a lucky draw? Not at all. I’m not surprised Wendy’s chose music as its competitive outlet since it was founded in the New Heartland (Midwest, Southwest and Southeast) in Columbus, Ohio.

Music is one of six main touch points brands can use to connect with New Heartland consumers. (The other touch points are food, fashion, technology, sports and outdoors.) Wendy’s was “born and raised” in the New Heartland – the home to nearly 60 percent of U.S. consumers – and this gives the chain a marketing advantage. Wendy’s knows what appeals to the largest group of American consumers and how to reach those people.

What’s really striking about Wendy’s recent marketing endeavor is that it shows the power of content and music. Smart content must be a heavy chunk of a brands marketing strategy today. Push that creative content through an outlet that your consumers connect with, such as music, and you’ve got yourself something powerful.

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