When it comes to hamburger chains, Wendy’s sits among the biggest players in the United States, ranking directly behind Mcdonald’s and Burger King. Over the years, the business has established loyalty and relationships among its customer base, continuously providing promos and discounts, encouraging buyers to choose Wendy’s over its competitors.
This year, Wendy’s joined the Metaverse, in Horizons World, and have called their new prize-based game Wendyverse. It primarily aims to provide advanced 3D opportunities for virtual interaction with the brand and other users. As a Metaverse game, it is social in nature, allowing players to interact with other users, virtually meet up with friends and enjoy playing games in Wendy’s virtual world.
But, how does this digital adventure affect Wendy’s overall brand reputation and loyalty? Did it find success in this innovative marketing strategy? What was the reaction of its consumers?
Loving and loyal
Whether in bricks and mortar stores or online, we all love promos and discounts, more so if the whole scheme is gamified. As for Wendy’s, more than half of its current customers are subscribed to loyalty programmes in exchange for in-store deals. Wendy’s delivered the same with Wendyverse games that garnered over 650 million social media impressions, according to the restaurant’s CMO, Carl Loredo.
For Wendy’s, this breakthrough proved the Metaverse’s viability as a loyalty-driven marketing platform that can win the Gen-Z crowd. The chain is set to deliver a whole new experience in the virtual world through Sunrise City, an obstacle course described as a “breakfast lover’s playground.” Sunrise City is a blend of arcade gaming, medieval castle aesthetics and brand marketing, challenging would-be players to get to the top of the castle. A great idea on paper which, if done well, could prove to be an addictive gaming experience that will take customer loyalty to a whole new level.
Wendy’s finally released Sunrise City in June, 2022. As expected, it generated engagement, but not everyone was happy with the gameplay, as many Wendyverse users still found the game confusing and sometimes hard to play.
In any case, the continuous expansion of Wendyverse may nudge the Metaverse’s entry into mainstream consciousness – well beyond Meta’s marketing spiel and any enthusiastic commentary from tech pundits.
According to YouGov, only 29% of Wendy’s existing customer base have meaningful knowledge about the Metaverse, which is lower than the US national average of 45%. However, 37% of them understand what the virtual world is all about, and are more likely to be open to playing the games and getting word of both the Wendyverse and the bigger Metaverse platform.
The rest, which adds up to a robust 50%, think that the Metaverse is a fad bound to fizzle soon.
Although Wendy’s virtual play is a bold move – and a rather risky investment on a relatively new virtual reality platform – it is undeniable that the Wendyverse has gained attention in the marketplace. Other stores are likely to follow suit and create innovative ideas to pursue their digital marketing strategies.