Wendy’s social media serves up fresh roasts

Photo by Luke Sarazin

If you have been on Twitter recently, you may have inexplicably noticed an abundant amount of fan art depicting the mascot for the Wendy’s fast food chain.

Often portrayed either demure, winsome or disturbingly sultry, this recent outpouring of “brand fandom” is the unlikely and unfortunate product of corporations getting wise to the Twitter-sphere.

@Wendys has become a regular “who to follow” after it has begun to engage in actions typical of popular figures on the website.

Be it through starting “twitter beef” with other fast food chains, trading insults with followers, or making popular references, this official branch of the Wendy’s marketing team has come to be seen as a real personality.

So much so that the bevy of talented independent artists that populate the site have begun drawing the logo as if it were a real person, personifying the snarky persona cultivated on the account and making this phenomenon certifiably viral.

All in good fun right? But is anybody else somewhat disturbed by the idea of being Twitter pals with a multi-billion dollar corporation just because they hired somebody who “gets” social media?

Do not be tricked into thinking Wendy’s is just trying to make you laugh or brighten your day like the other accounts you follow.

The real aim behind Wendy’s corporate Twitter account is not just to have you retweet and follow, but for you to log off twitter, drive down to your local Wendy’s and stuff your face with Baconators and Frostees.

Do not get tricked into thinking Wendy’s is just trying to make you laugh or brighten your day like the other accounts you follow.

We should not be celebrating the fact that corporations are becoming social media savvy because it represents the adaptable and incessant arm of contemporary capitalism that often makes advertising seem friendly and fun.
Whether it was promising some random teenager a year’s supply of chicken if he could get 18 million retweets, or cattily insulting people who register complaints, the real intent has always been getting you, the consumer, to do their marketing for them.

And this sentiment applies to all business twitter accounts that try to appear like average people you’d come across on your timeline.

Be it @Dennys, who have appropriated the esoteric charms of “weird twitter”, or @Arbys, whose account posts nerdy fan art made out of curly fries, the intentions remain the same; you do the marketing for them.

The recent viral popularity of the Wendy’s account means other restaurant chains will try this.

We are not far off from Colonel Sanders sharing memes or Ronald McDonald claiming their burgers are “lit, fam.”

It is also worth mentioning that the manner in which @Wendys “roasts” other users has lead to the creation of a lot of sexualized fan art.
Applauding a company for insulting its customer base was disturbing enough, but I honestly cannot think of a better metaphor for the evils of capitalism than scores of dudes online pleasuring themselves to a logo. Our fast food preferences should not hinge on which mascot we find most sexually attractive, otherwise I’d never eat at Burger King again.

It could very well be that I am the only one who finds this subversive form of marketing unsettling.

But I choose not to follow companies on Twitter because Twitter has enough ads as it is.

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