How do you get people talking about something they can’t even pronounce? The word “brioche" was a mouthful for our customers, and they were unsure of how to say it. So how were we going to get people to talk about — and order — Wendy’s new Portabella Mushroom Melt on Brioche when they couldn’t even pronounce the key ingredient? INSIGHT People love pointing out a mistake. Especially when a big brand makes one online. IDEA To incite conversation and engagement, we sabotaged our own Facebook and YouTube videos by having a fancy pants Wendy’s spokesman mispronounce the word “brioche" before anyone else had a chance. WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE We made a mistake on purpose and played it straight the entire time. When Wendy’s launched its new Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche, we were tasked with driving online awareness and restaurant sales. Easy enough. There was just one problem: People were intimidated to order the sandwich because many didn’t know, for sure, how to pronounce the name of its fancy new bun. So how were we going to get customers to talk about something that they couldn’t even pronounce … let alone order it? The challenge itself inspired an idea: We could spark social media chatter and make ordering the sandwich less intimidating by having a Wendy’s spokesman butcher the word “brioche" first. And because people love being the smartest one in the comment box by pointing out a mistake, this was a campaign made for Facebook. And the comments and shares flooded in. Not only were people enthusiastically pointing out the mistake, and sharing it with their Facebook friends, but they were also educating other Wendy’s fans (and Wendy’s) on the proper pronunciation at the same time. That’s when our “stupid like a fox" community management tactic took over to coyly stoke the fire and tease that there would be a second video. A retraction video, of sorts, which was posted the next week to clear everything up. Kind of. OK, it didn’t clear up anything. Our spokesperson just mispronounced “brioche" a different way. And even more engagement followed. Now sensing the gag, many praised Wendy’s for successfully sabotaging its own campaign and trolling its own Facebook fans, while others were still on our case for the new mispronunciation. But either way, people were talking, with more than 1.7 million total post engagements. Not only that, but during the five weeks of the campaign, Wendy’s earned more than 50,000 new Facebook fans. In the end, “brioche" was demystified, and more importantly, people were ordering it in droves. In fact, national sales of the limited-time-only sandwich exceeded goals each week. And that’s how you get people talking about and ordering something they can’t even pronounce.
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