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The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that “after five marketing campaigns in almost as many years, hamburger chain Wendy's on Friday is launching a high-stakes ad blitz aimed at reviving its brand by stressing freshness and quality.”

The goal of the nation’s third-ranked fast feeder is to ramp up sales in an economic environment that has not been friendly to the chain – continuing price breaks and value offerings have eroded sales and margins, and has hurt its ability to define itself.
KC's View:
Purely by coincidence, we actually had Wendy’s for dinner last night. I got home later than expected from a trip, Mrs. Content Guy and I had to go to Parents Night at our daughter’s school, and we didn’t have time to cook anything. We gave our daughter the choice, and she chose Wendy’s. She had chicken nuggets, my wife had a burger, and I had a chicken sandwich. We split a couple of orders of fries.

And it was all awful. The burger was the worst - small and warmed over and tasting anything but fresh. The chicken sandwich was chewy and tasteless – not a good combination. And the fries tasted like they had been cooked a week ago.

Now, I’m not a fast food fan, so it isn’t like I have high expectations. But this was so far below expectations – and even so far below the brand promise – that it will be a long time before we ever hit Wendy’s again. Granted, this could have been an isolated case…but that doesn’t matter. Because it was our bad experience, and it hurts the brand.