Wubba Lubba Grub Grub! Check out how this collaboration took over L.A. for one weekend in June 2021. [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]
What happens when you put together one of the most marketable TV shows in existence AND a well-known fast food chain?
You get truly amazing things in one package… just like what happened in this guerrilla marketing campaign!
Morty’s, an exclusive one-weekend-only restaurant, had customers driving from all over the US and waiting in line for up to FIVE HOURS just for their grub.
You haven’t heard about this restaurant before?
Allow us to give you a context about what this new brand name was all about.
Wendy’s is an American fast food restaurant chain founded by American businessman Dave Thomas in 1969. It is the world’s third-largest hamburger fast food chain with over 6,700 locations worldwide.
To celebrate the global “Rick and Morty” day in 2021, the fast food restaurant partnered with cable network Adult Swim to promote the fifth season of the “Rick and Morty” show and bring fans an out-of-this-world drive-thru experience.
By converting one Wendy’s branch in Los Angeles, California into Morty’s (a change of name of the Wendy’s restaurant based on the “Rick and Morty” universe) for one weekend in June!
Everything was rebranded to match the “Rick and Morty” show’s theme―from the restaurant’s signage to food packaging and even to employees’ uniforms.
There was also a “Rick and Morty”-themed drive-thru experience that featured the show’s graphics via giant inflatable characters!
Wendy’s came out with exclusive food items for this campaign: The Pickle Rick Pickle Frosty, a neon green, pickle-flavored frosty…
… and two new soft drink mixes―Portal Time Lemon Lime and Berry-Jeery-boree.
The pickle frosty was given out for FREE to customers, but it was only available during the weekend of the guerrilla marketing campaign. Meanwhile, the two soft drink mixes were available throughout the duration of the “Rick and Morty” show’s fifth season, which was from June 18, 2021 to August 22, 2021.
Before the launch of the pop-up itself, Wendy’s used social media to let everyone know that Morty’s is coming. Mainly using Twitter, the official Wendy’s account tweeted out a twist on the popular “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub” phrase from the show:
Later on, Wendy’s also tweeted a short time lapse video of Wendy’s transforming into Morty’s. The same video was also posted on Facebook. One of the most amusing things about this project is that Wendy’s (or should we say, “Morty’s”) kept in character throughout the entire project by tweeting as if one of the show’s characters actually worked for the fast food chain as well as insisting to anyone that called them “Wendy’s” that “This is a Morty’s”.
As for TikTok, both Wendy’s and Adult Swim heavily relied on the customers who posted videos of their experience. Neither of the two brands posted anything on the popular social platform related to the “Rick and Morty” pop-up. This was a good move because the fans became the free and proactive promoters of the event, telling their followers and viewers to go and experience the immersive drive-thru themselves.
Was Wendy’s “Morty’s Pop-Up Store” effective?
It is no surprise that fans of the “Rick and Morty” show were excited to experience this campaign. In fact, they drove long distances and waited up to FIVE HOURS just to get their “Rick and Morty”-themed food!
Despite the long wait times, James Bennett, Vice President of Marketing at Wendy’s, said the campaign was successful because of the reaction and engagement of the fans:
- The fifth season of the “Rick and Morty” show received a metascore of 89/100 and a user score rating of 6.8/10 on the movie review website, Metacritic. This data is higher than the fourth season’s metascore of 84/100 and user score rating of 5.5/10.
[Metascore: The weighted average of scores given by critics on their review of a movie, game, television show, or album.
User Score: This pertains to ratings given by users or viewers. Users rate a form of media from 1 to 10 then their ratings are averaged to get this score.]
- Around 935,000 people watched the show’s fifth season and among these viewers were those who interacted with Wendy’s and Adult Swim’s guerrilla marketing campaign.
- Across Facebook, Wendy’s recorded around 37,400 engagements during the duration of the campaign.
- Fans who filmed their experience about Morty’s pop-up store uploaded their videos on YouTube. Those videos garnered more than 1 million views!
- Fans also filmed TikTok videos about the campaign. One of those videos reached over 24 million views and 3 million likes while another reached nearly 8 million views and more than 1 million likes.
What’s amazing about the campaign’s social media hype was it wasn’t prompted by Wendy’s. Those were all proactive engagements that fans did because they wanted to tell their friends and family about the event. They wanted to let other people know about this “cool and fun” campaign!
Additionally, while not disclosing actual sales figures, Bennett mentioned that the custom “Rick and Morty” soft drink mixes performed better than some of Coca-Cola’s base flavors in the freestyle machine.
Bennett also emphasized that what Wendy’s was looking to accomplish in the campaign was long term capability. He and his team wanted to make sure they have the right engagement strategy so fans are left wanting more and looking forward to other future events.
“That continuity, that ability to keep building really allows us to identify that we have something that’s really great that we have been able to accomplish.”
While the partnership with the “Rick and Morty” show was a success, the Wendy’s marketing team said the campaign wasn’t without risks. Having devoted fans means a new partnership might backfire if missteps were made.
Thankfully, braving through these risks enabled Wendy’s and Adult Swim to make great stuff happen!
As a business owner or marketer, you can take a page out of this campaign’s book by observing one key factor that contributed to the success of Wendy’s and Adult Swim’s partnership:
According to Kim Yates, Senior Vice President and Head of Client Sales and Partnerships at WarnerMedia, “taking risks together” fostered trust and led to the authenticity of the campaign.
… and this authenticity was able to appeal and bring satisfaction to both Wendy’s and the “Rick and Morty” show’s fans by giving them a unique, enjoyable, and memorable experience!
In turn, these fans expanded the campaign’s reach by talking about it to their friends and family through social media.
So… just like Wendy’s and Adult Swim, don’t be afraid to take that good kind of risk to acquire more customers and boost awareness about your brand!
If you have a cool and awesome idea that you think will appeal to your target market, start planning it now.
By successfully pulling off such a great idea, you will not just gain new customers or clients but you will also position your brand as a memorable brand with offerings that people will look forward to.
Start planning your brand’s own guerrilla marketing campaigns now and have fun thinking outside the box!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”
Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”
Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.
Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.
Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.
This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.
It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).
Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.
The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.
Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.
This is every business’ or brand’s dream!
Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.
Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.
Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.
Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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