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Wendy’s has been serving up sass on social media since 2017.
It all started on Twitter. After the official Twitter account of Mcdonald’s mistakenly shared a tweet with typos, Wendy’s quote tweeted the post saying, “When the tweets are as broken as the ice cream machine.”
The success of this tweet marked the beginning of a new social media strategy for the fast food chain — roasting other accounts.
Wendy’s first National Roast Day was in 2018. Twitter users could drop a Tweet asking to be roasted and the official Wendy’s account would counter with a ruthless response. No Twitter account was safe, and the made-up social media holiday became an annual affair that was a massive success.
In 2022, National Roast Day generated over 130 million impressions in a matter of hours and made Wendy’s an instant trending topic on Twitter.
This year, Wendy’s moved National Roast Day from Twitter to TikTok, turning it into a three-day event from April 12-14 (previously, it was limited to 24 hours). To participate, TikTok users posted videos asking Wendy’s to roast them. The official Wendy’s account then responded with stitched videos delivering roasts from an animated “Wendy.”
If the comment section was any indication, this year’s roast didn’t bring the heat.
Under the roast videos, comparisons to the company’s previous roasts on Twitter were frequently mentioned. Users left comments such as:
“how is your roast colder than your fries”
“the Twitter guy is on vacation”
“Twitter Wendy’s needs to roast TikTok Wendy’s”
“This person AIN’T the same as Wendy’s Twitter”
Here are a few reasons why the latest roast felt lukewarm compared to previous years.
TikTok’s Strict Community Guidelines
Compared to Twitter, TikTok has more strict community guidelines around what is considered bullying or harassment. Content that is deemed too harsh can quickly be taken down from the video platform, adding limitations to what Wendy’s could say during the roast.
Sharing roasts via text on Twitter allows a bit more room for interpretation. Users can read the tweets sarcastically or imagine a specific voice delivering the roast. With an animated character delivering the roast, there’s less room for interpretation and the jokes are more difficult to land.
It’s worth noting there were a few gems shared on National Roast Day, like this video directed at AdAge that marketers can appreciate.
Though video presents unique challenges to delivering the type of humor Wendy’s is known for, moving National Roast Day to TikTok was likely a valuable experiment that will help Wendy’s social team hone in on its short-form video strategy.
While the roasts may not have been hot, the stats around National Roast Day 2023 were still impressive. During the three-day roast, Wendy’s shared 111 videos garnering over 109 million views and counting.
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