Media Segmentation: Face-Deep in a Baconator

Posted on November 13th, 2012 by True Media

Calgary Stampeders

I love football. I think that it is war without anybody dying. With first downs and field position, it is about the conquest of real estate. When you push the enemy back into the sea, you get six points. Also, more than any other sport, it’s about self-sacrifice and working together as a team. Everybody has a job to do and needs to perform it together at the same time to get the desired result. What guy doesn’t like the sight of a machine working perfectly? Finally, it is a sport of extreme danger, and I admire the courage it takes to face a six foot nine, three hundred pound lineman. Especially when you have to go in to replace the last guy that faced him, currently being carted off the field in an ambulance.
Besides being three-down ball and a season that runs July to November, there’s another big difference to being a professional football fan in Canada: it’s not that hard to watch every game. You see, we only have an eight team league, and all four games each week are broadcast on the same network (TSN). There are never two games on simultaneously, and never more than two games broadcast on the same day. If you’re into sports betting, it is literally possible to have your finger on the pulse of every team, beat the odds and win consistently.
Being a die-hard Canadian football fan also makes it impossible not to be an expert on Wendy’s commercials. Although Wendy’s advertises somewhat with the NFL in America, they absolutely own the QSR category in Canadian football. They run a promotion called “Kick for a Million”, where fans have a chance to kick a field goal in front of a stadium audience to win a million dollars. They also run a minimum of four, 0:30 spots per game, which as a die-hard fan gets to be a bit tiring to see the exact same commercial sixteen times every week. Fortunately, Wendy’s invests heavily in commercial development, and this season, they have done a good job in changing it up.
The first commercial they ran this year was the inspiration for this blog post. I consider it to be the best example of creative matching the media I have seen in a long time. Watch this commercial for Baconater – Garage Sale
What goes best with fast food and football? A chair to watch the game in, of course!
And Wendy’s new spokesperson (the red-haired Morgan Smith Goodwin) does a marvelous job of describing the benefit. Perfectly matching the male psyche, “Face deep in a Baconater” was a household phrase for about six weeks. Also it was masterfully written to be utilized for any spectator sport.
Unfortunately, the success did not continue for Wendy’s second commercial run of the season, the Asiago Ranch Chicken Club.
Although it has the same high-quality production values as previous Wendy’s commercials, “movie night” is not in the male psyche. I can’t help but ask the question “how does Wendy’s solve the problem of what movie they are going to watch? They’ll stuff their faces, be home an hour later, and STILL be without a movie to watch!”
Researching for this blog post, I watched a number of other Wendy’s TV commercials that featured Morgan Smith Goodwin. When I saw them, I remembered them, but unaided I would never recall them, for none of them really spoke to me. I never even put together that the red-haired girl was supposed to be the new “Wendy” – probably because I really don’t care about all that stuff. But the “Baconator” commercial spoke to me, and soon after airing, we were at the pick-up window to buy a Baconator for me and a Son of a Baconator for – you guessed it – my son.  Why? Because football is something I care about, and Wendy’s associated the Baconator with football.

Son of a Baconator

Although I watch precious little TV other than football, my sources tell me that Wendy’s flights the same commercial through regular programming as they do through sports. Therefore, I must come to the conclusion that scheduling the brilliant “Baconator” spot in CFL Football was only a lucky strike.
For the large media dollars that advertisers spend on sports buys and sponsorships, shouldn’t they tailor their creative message to the audience? As planners and buyers of media, we calculate and negotiate to pull the last 1%-5% of value out of a media buy. Running a commercial that is relevant has got to be worth a whole lot more than that. If 25 years of media planning has taught me nothing more, it has taught me this:  do you want to break through the clutter? Think about the target audience. If different groups relate to your product for different reasons, segment them. Buy the media that speaks to each segment, and run relevant creative specific to each group.
By the way, that Baconator was real good. Enough blogging, I think it’s time for another stop at the pick-up window.