Over the years, the showpiece event in the US sporting calendar has become just as much about off-field antics as it is about football. The Super Bowl draws in a global audience of over 100 million, almost without fail.
This has helped turn the game into a huge lure for some of the world’s biggest brands, with astronomic fortunes spent on seconds-long advertizing spots. To advertize for half a minute will set you back a cool $4.5 million. With such ridiculous numbers involved, businesses unsurprisingly want plenty of bang for their buck.
This year was no exception, with global powerhouses battling it out with series after series of increasingly outlandish commercials. Many have already passed into advertising folklore – Doritos and Mountain Dew’s dual lip-sync battle starring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman is set to be a YouTube staple for years to come. But, without a doubt, the biggest commercial burn of the night was delivered by fast food giants Wendy’s.
Instead of relying on a star name or killer visual effects, Wendy’s went for an altogether more straightforward, but no less hard-hitting campaign. Instead of worrying about excessive shots of slowly grilling meat (although, admittedly, there were plenty of these too), they decided to skewer one of the biggest names in the business: home of the Hamburglar himself – McDonald’s.
The 30-second commercial opens to a white screen, emblazoned with a small, central Wendy’s logo. Text appears, informing the viewer that, after some “light stalking”,Wendy’s have uncovered that McDonald’s burgers are “flash frozen…to seal in fresh flavour”. The audience is then encouraged to “pause for laughter”.
After this frozen bombshell has been dropped, the rest of the commercial goes on to detail the truly fresh beef that Wendy’s use “in every hamburger…every day”. To add a final insult to injury, the advert then coins the insulting moniker “Frozen Arches” in reference to McDonald’s distinctive logo. Burn well and truly served.
Naturally, the internet erupted in a chorus of increasingly loud “ooooh’s” after the ad had been aired. Viewers could barely contain their glee at the mercilessness on display, with several voicing their disbelief at what they had just witnessed. Unfortunately for McDonald’s, the savagery was all too real.
You could be forgiven for thinking that that was where the feud began and ended. However, Wendy’s were not content in merely scoring the opening points of what promises to be the definitive fast food feud of 2018. Since the commercial aired, Wendy’s have continued to post a series of tweets, attempting to coax a response out of McDonald’s.
Maccies have, by contrast, remained stoically silent on the issue of frozen burgers. This cold-shoulder has prompted many members of the Twitteratti, including Wendy’s themselves, to question whether the severity of the opening burn has in fact “frozen (McDonald’s) feed”.
While the internet waits with bated breath to see what, if anything, the most famous name in fast food does to respond to the roasting that they’ve received, Wendy’s show no signs of letting up. McDonald’s will need to act soon if they hope to avoid a total loss of face. The war may not be over, but it’s clear there has only been one winner in the opening burger battle of the year.