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The art of launching a new product on social media is one that few brands have achieved. But, leave it to the sassy girl with pigtails to come up with something out of this world (you’ll see what we mean). Wendy’s is launching a new product on 8.19.19 and so far they’re keeping it just nebulous enough to keep the nugget-loving world on their toes. Here’s a timeline of what’s happened so far and what marketers can learn from their ingenious product launch: 

5/4: 

After backtracking a few steps from Wendy’s latest social post two things are clear: The somewhat vague product announcement is about the return of spicy nuggets and it all started with Chance the Rapper. Here’s what went down: 

Chance goes: “Positive Affirmations for today: I WILL have a good day, I Will succeed today, Wendy’s WILL bring back spicy nuggets at some point please please Lord let it be today.” Wendy’s took the opportunity to respond “Y’all keep asking, so here’s your chance.

Then Wendy’s goes: The people in charge say if you guys can get our tweet (this one right here) to 2 Million likes, they will bring SPICY CHICKEN NUGGETS BACK. Let’s freakin’ do this!”

It’s highly plausible that Wendy’s was going to bring back Spicy Chicken Nuggets anyway, but through social listening, they were able to connect it back to a timely tweet. Not to mention they gained valuable engagement and drove conversation around the product’s resurgence by holding fans culpable for whether or not spicy chicken nuggets would return to menus. And this, my friends, is how to start a conversation. 

6/24: 

Wendy’s went beyond considering only the conventional platforms to stoke excitement. On 6/24 Wendy’s tweeted prompting their 3.2 M fans to join a Google invite on 8.19.19 to have lunch at Wendy’s. The messaging within the invite struck a workplace tone and said: “Was looking at the calendar and this seemed like it was probably the best date”. Wendy’s considered every platform when devising their launch plan and it’s clear that each aspect of the campaign was intentional. This leads us to our next launch lesson:  a successful campaign requires a multi-channel approach in order to tap into each unique community.

6/25: 

The conversation got spicy on 6/25, like it usually does when Nicki Minaj weighs in. Nicki responded to Wendy’s official announcement saying “Why do y’all keep taking it off the menu in the first place? Just leave it. Y’all mad aggy.” Wendy’s quickly put out the fire with their response “Sorry Queen. When people aren’t buying something they take it away. Hopefully they stay around this time?” (The Queen had no reply). This is the perfect example of how to generate earned media and craft a brand response that turns a seemingly negative comment into a positive brand interaction. 

6/26: 

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The stars have aligned.

A post shared by Wendy's 🍔 (@wendys) on

Two days later, Wendy’s posted an elusive photo of a chicken nugget constellation with the date 8.19.19. The caption simply read the stars have aligned. Not only did they get people’s nugget-obsessed minds churning, but they were sure to meet every user content with clever quippy responses like this exchange: 

User: I DID MY WAITING. 12 YEARS OF IT

Wendy’s: it hasn’t been that long but thanks for waiting

In the comments, they go on to reveal that our horoscope says that spicy nuggets are in our future. Active community management is a key ingredient of a successful product launch helps quell consumer anxieties about the new product, answer questions, and stoke excitement. 

We have no doubt this story will continue to develop, especially given we’re pretty sure the folks behind Wendy’s community management don’t sleep or take breaks. We’ll be watching the show with popcorn in hand. Thanks for reading and remember to keep your campaigns fresh and never frozen. 

Vanessa Kahn

Vanessa Kahn

Vanessa loves to help brands excel through a focus on quality content and a finger on the pulse of current trends. When she’s not researching the latest in the food and wellness industry or crafting the perfect caption for social, you can find her driving up to the mountains with a cappuccino in hand.
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