The Irresponsibility of Bland

There’s just something so square about the new Wendy’s ads. Yesterday I compared the new spokes-gurl to Flo from Progressive, but Flo from Progressive has been around so long she kind of has a tiny bit of nuance and backstory to her character, and the writers have to keep making her more unusual to keep things interesting.

This Wendy’s character, apart from being red-haired, is so familiar: she’s the wacky neighbor, a manic pixie dream girl.

And she’s handled so blandly.

So it gets me to thinking.

It’s an old, old axiom in the ad biz, and not even that interesting original to say, “the only risk is playing it safe.” Or something like that, the idea being that if work is familiar and comfortable to a client, it won’t get the intended target’s attention and certainly won’t change anybody’s mind.

Are the new Wendy’s ads so unremarkable, they’re ineffective? It’s hard to know, sometimes, when the media budget is so giant all they need to do is fill the airwaves with the logo and the name and general awareness ends up driving sales.

Truth is, Wendy’s advertising has been adrift for years, ever since Dave Thomas’s death: from crazy red-haired weirdos to boringified retreads and…well, currently the advertising has drifted into just being safe.

In other news, the pendulum has swung and stuck on the boring side for Burger King, too, hasn’t it? What’s going on? Save us, Russ Klein.