How do you sell a 2D animated square dude living in a world of animated
circle people to a universally cherished, but extremely traditional brand,
who isn't used to taking chances?
One word. Patience.
Not waiting room patience, not waiting for your turn in Scrabble
patience, not even watching paint dry, patience. More like come up with
a cool idea, present it to the client, sit on it for a year and month,
and then present it again patience. Which is exactly what we did to sell
the Smart Square campaign to Wendy's.
The idea came a lot quicker than selling it did. The simple insight that
Wendy's has Square hamburgers made us ask ourselves, 'where do square
hamburgers come from?' We quickly ended up with a campaign starring a
square cow. Square Cow lived in a world of average round cows. He liked
to do things differently. He was proud not to follow the herd. There was
a lot of agency love for Square Cow, but some people are touchy about
anthropomorphizing animals that are raised for food. And we were a little
weary about the cannibalistic nature of a cow telling you to eat a cow,
so we let Square Cow lie.
However, we didn't give up on the idea of doing a cool simple animated
campaign that made a square a hero. So we decided to take the cow out
of Square Cow and ended up with a smart square living in a world of stupid
circles; a simple metaphor that says square hamburgers are better than
The first time we presented the campaign to the Wendy's client we weren't
sure whether they would laugh their heads off or look at us like we had
three heads. We got a lot of laughs.
The second time we presented it, everybody loved it. But one client wasn't
The third time, there was a lot of love. Which was unfortunately outweighed
by one question, 'where the heck are we going to run this stuff?'
The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh time we presented, we couldn't
believe we were still presenting it.
Click on image to view ad
Executive Producer: Kathy Love
The eighth time, the client decided it wasn't the right time for Smart
Square and ran with another campaign instead.
Smart Square wasn't about to give up. He waited patiently in the corner
of Chief Creative Officer, Nina DiSesa's office. Almost a year passed
by, Smart Square waited. Nina moved out, Joyce King Thomas moved in, Smart
Square waited. In fact we were sure the little guy had died. But when
the time came to present new work to Wendy's, and their newly hired Chief
Marketing Officer, Ian Rowden, there Smart Square was, waiting patiently
in the corner.
We represented Smart Square as a mini campaign within the 'Do What Tastes
Right' Campaign and Wendy's loved it as much as they did the first time,
the only difference was, this time they bought it.
There's no question that patience and persistence, the guidance of two
amazing creative directors, Nina DiSesa and Joyce King Thomas, and an
awesome new CMO who was ready and willing to take a chance were key ingredients
in selling Smart Square. But we're still not sure how in the devil we
managed to get Wendy's to buy a minute and a half initially unbranded
internet movie and a website full of other kooky content. Check it all
out at goodtobesquare.com.
Sharon Ehrlich, McCann Erickson
Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.