Wendy’s brings the beef to ESPN ABC

Nov 19, 2001  •  Post A Comment

ESPN ABC Sports has signed an integrated, multimedia advertising deal with Wendy’s worth more than $10 million.
The overall one-year deal with Wendy’s and Bates USA, its ad agency, essentially doubles Wendy’s previous-year spending with ESPN ABC Sports, said Ed Erhardt, president, customer marketing and sales, ESPN ABC Sports.
Central to the deal is a 13-week multimedia promotion and sweepstakes tied to “SportsCenter,” ESPN’s flagship sports news program, that will run in the second quarter of 2002. The one-year deal also includes a package of units on ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” Wendy’s spots on other ESPN programming, including both professional football and college basketball, and “some off-channel promotion that Wendy’s is doing,” Mr. Erhardt said.
This is how the “SportsCenter” promotion works:
Beginning in the second quarter, Wendy’s will serve as the presenting sponsor of the “Showcase Highlight,” a play-of-the-day highlight package on “SportsCenter,” running at 10 p.m. on the West Coast, 1 a.m. in the East and midnight in the Midwest.
That play of the day, with its own analysis and graphics, will be picked by TV-watching Web surfers from among five choices tallied at ESPN.com. The ESPN.com voters can sign on for the sweepstakes, which includes such prizes as a trip to visit the “SportsCenter” set. Both the sweepstakes and the voting are sponsored by Wendy’s. In addition, there will be tune-in and promotional ads featured in ESPN the Magazine and on ESPN Radio.
The ESPN Radio sweepstakes promotions will air in all dayparts, and ESPN the Magazine will feature Wendy’s brand ads and sweepstakes-promotion ads.
The new one-year deal “steps up the relationship” between Wendy’s and ESPN, Mr. Erhardt said. Wendy’s “bought `Monday Night Football’ with more units because of this overall integrated deal that we did,” he said. “Rather than just say, `OK here’s a schedule of television spots,’ we created something that, we think, for that quarter and that time period is the gem of `SportsCenter,’ which is the whole notion of what’s the best highlight.”
“Wendy’s core male target drives their business,” said Kara Lazarus, senior VP, director of national broadcast, Bates USA. “Our agreement with ESPN goes far beyond just commercials and billboards to deliver the Wendy’s message.”
Crucial to the present deal is the ESPN.com element, which links the “SportsCenter” broadcast to the Web site. Similar recent added-value deals have also depended on dot-com elements to drive viewers and surfers to the ad message.
For example, TBS Superstation has linked its syndicated “Friends” nightly strip to an interactive Web-based online promotion in two successive advertising deals-one with Kia Motors America and the other with Procter & Gamble.
At ESPN and “SportsCenter,” there will be other promotions in future quarters with other sponsors using the model of the Wendy’s deal, Mr. Erhardt said.