Wendy’s Tells the Sad-Funny Stories of Unworthy Foods Banned From the Baconator

Talking meats and veggies star in VML's quirky comedies

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Ever bitten into a sandwich only to meet with freezerburn, an unsatisfyingly thin piece of bacon or an unwelcome vegetable? We've all been there. It's one of our most trying and persistent #FirstWorldProblems. 

But Wendy's has a solution: The Baconator, which promises no frozen beef, no microwaved bacon and no vegetables whatsoever. And instead of food-porning us into submission, it's conveying these messages with a trio of bizarre short stories, in which anthropomorphized foodstuffs try penetrating the Baconator in modern contexts. 

Let's start with "Frozen Beef Need Not Apply." In this spot, a clearly frozen Australian beef patty tries interviewing for a Baconator job. It adds something to our disgust that he sweats (or defrosts?) all through it, but the final test of unfrozenness will send chills up the spine of anyone who's ever been given a corporate pee cup. 

In "Microwaves Are a Dealbreaker," a cute, upwardly mobile fresh meat patty is trying to find "a meaningful connection with the right applewood smoked bacon." Our juicy heroine meets a slice on the dating site "Meatswipe" (sadly not a thing—we checked so you wouldn't have to) who claims he's less thick than in his pictures because of filters. It all goes downhill from there … but in his defense, we do consider microwaves a type of oven. 

The third spot, "No Veggies Allowed," is a little bit stranger, because veggies are usually a token indication of how fresh a sandwich is. But we guess there are some meals where they're just not welcome, like when you really want to focus on the unadulterated sensation of hot cheese melting over bacon and beef, which is totally fair enough. 

Anyway, in this one, three geeky veggies try getting into Club Baconator, using fake IDs. Needless to say, the bouncer is not impressed. 

The ads were created by VML, which swiped lead creative agency status out from under Publicis' nose back in March. At the time, Wendy's chief concept and marketing officer Kurt Kane said VML "has proven it can tell the Wendy's story in a modern and compelling way that drives winning business results." And indeed, it's done a lot to help the burger chain flex its beefy muscles in digital. 

Last year, to promote the Strawberry Fields Chicken Sandwich, it released a charming series of cinematic pins on Pinterest. Right after that, it held a livestream chat with YouTube duo Rhett & Link. Wendy's has also spent some time developing its chops on Snapchat, whose users these ads happen to feel destined for. 


Client: Wendy's

Advertising Agency: VML, Kansas, USA

Chief Creative Officer: Debbi Vandeven

Executive Creative Director: Chris Corley

Group Creative Director: Pat Piper

Creative Director: Daniel Lobaton

Associate Creative Director: Ethan Tedlock

Senior Copywriter: David Brandorff

Associate Art Director: McKailey Carson

Associate Copywriter: Ant Tull

Senior Producer: Michael Kinney

Associate Producer: Shae Mermis

Group Director: Jason Bass

Director, Client Engagement: Kelly Gartenmayer

Supervisor, Client Engagement: Nicole Debrick

Business Affairs Manager: Julie Kolton

Campaign Manager: Patty Jones

Production Company: Moo Studios

Director: Shaun Sewter

Producer: David Lyons

Line Producer: Monica Monique

Producer : Bennett Conrad

Editorial: Liquid 9

Editor : Ryan Lewis

Editor: Katie Wade

Production Coordinator: Kate Zadoo

Join Dwyane WadeJulian DuncanAndrea BrimmerRick Gomez and more at Brandweek Masters Live, on Sept. 14-17, for main stage insights, in-depth Masterclasses and more. Register now (early-bird rates expire 9/1)

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.