The fast food giant also presents the annual Wooden Award
Wendys is debuting a unique tool to automatically generate brackets for NCAA basketball March Madness by way of answering a series of questions via direct message on Twitter.
Twitter will look to compete with established bracket hosts, such as Yahoo and ESPN, under the aegis of Wendys sponsorship. Fans will be able to fill out their own #WendysBracket on Sunday.
Brackets are a big part of March Madness, said Brandon Rhoten, head of advertising at Wendys. We wanted to have an unreasonably easy bracket and, because we have a great relationship with Twitter, they figured out a way to provide just that.
The technology will generate a bracket by either; asking simple personality questions; based it on who you think will be in the Final Four or you can pick every game yourself. It's a fun, new way to think about brackets and helps cement the connection between Wendy's and NCAA.
Wendys and NCAA
Wendys is in familiar territory in involving itself with March Madness; the fast food chain has been presenting the annual Wooden Award, which honors the top player in mens and womens college basketball, since 2015.
Wendys is also the official hamburger of the NCAA.
The entirety of the bracket creation process will be held through direct messaging Wendys Twitter profile, an ingenious way to both encourage consumers to engage with the Wendys social media presence (which has been making headlines for humorous Tweets and interactions with users in the past few months) and also open a line of communication between consumer and brand. And since consumers generally do not message with faceless brands on the Internet, the hubbub surrounding March Madness brackets, which are usually created last-minute, becomes a natural way in to conversation.
Scoring updates, prize giveaways, and redemption bracket opportunities will be offered throughout the March Madness tournament.
Wendys is also promoting the hashtag #Drive2theFinal4 on its social channels as a way to chronicle a road trip it will be taking to celebrate the occasion of the NCAA Basketball tournament. Kicking off on Selection Sunday, March 12, and ending on Final Four Weekend in Phoenix, March 31 to April 3, the road trip will stop at three college campuses Xavier University, Butler University and University of Louisville and at the first and second round tournament in Indianapolis, the Midwest regional tournament in Kansas City and the Final Four Championship Tournament.
At each stop, Wendy's Food Truck will be serving up free samples of cheeseburgers and fans will have a chance to win Unreasonable Upgrades such as gift cards and upgraded game tickets for regional tournaments.
Wendys has been testing the mobile waters in the past year, finding its bread and butter within social media. Last year, Wendys capitalized on the connection between music and mobile devices by enabling fans to stream a track from indie rock band American Authors on its Twitter and Facebook pages, or by scanning a Shazam icon found on Wendys in-store signage and in movie theaters (see story
And recently, the chain highlighted the freshness of its own ingredients through a social and video campaign called Freezer Dig that aimed to promote brand interaction on mobile (see story
An example of Wendy's patent social media snark
We'll be active on social during the NCAA for our road trip and with the #WendysBracket both of which are optimized for a mobile experience, Mr. Rhoten said. The social influencers we are utilizing in the program are building content designed to be consumed across mobile.
Really, the whole program is meant to be consumed on a smartphone, although you can access all the content across channels and platforms.