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Friday, June 8, 2012

Post# 262 - Wendy's and Their Father's Day Frosty Promotion

Previously, I had sent this positive note.  I decided to participate in the Wendy's Father's Day social media event, which donated 50 cents to Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption. for every Facebook post or Tweet.

The more I posted, the better I felt about it.  I sensed their webmaster was doing something to slow me down, and that annoyed me,  so I wrote this.  Now, I'm really annoyed.  I sent this on 6/17/2011:

Dear Wendy’s,
Everyone knows someone whose life has been changed by adoption.  Childhood friends who, for whatever reason, needed a happy, loving home.  Adult friends who, for whatever reason, decide to make a big commitment.  The stories that these adult friends tell are staggering-- expenses, paperwork, and the big microscope called “adoption agency”.  The idea is to ensure a good fit.  I get that.
We need to make it more affordable for good families to connect with children.  We need to increase awareness, raise money for the agencies, and in the meantime, take care of the kids.  I believe that’s what Dave Thomas intended.
This past week, I saw your annual Father’s Day Frosty promotion.  I wrote you a letter commending your promotion.  I never heard anything back, but that’s fine, whatever.  I also noticed your promotion on Facebook – “Frosty Treat-It-Forward.”  I downloaded an app that, whenever I share on my facebook page, Wendy’s donates 50 cents to Dave Thomas’s foundation.  Your words—not mine.

I decided to participate, in a big way.  I posted twice.  Wow— I just raised $1.  Then I did it 18 more times.  $10.  Then, I just went crazy.  While watching television, I kept posting.   Posting and posting.  80 clicks per minute.  I reached 1164 before it mysteriously stopped working.  The sign kept reading “$50,000 as of one hour ago.”   It should have read “$50582 as of one hour ago.”   Worse yet, the “app” stopped counting.  Who knows how much that cost Dave’s foundation.  It felt like I was being “stopped.”
I started a second account and posted 1037 more times.  In total, by your classification (“Help us spread the word and Wendy’s will donate $0.50 each time.”)  I started wondering if each click actually counts for $0.50, especially since the “$50,000 as of one hour ago” never changed.  Did each of my posts ACTUALLY count for $0.50?  Did I really raise $1100.50?  Or are you just using some whiz-bang macro that averages facebook traffic for a nice round number that looks a lot like $50,000?
Please tell me that you take your promotion seriously, as well as the time and effort of your loyal, caring customers.


Subject: Father's Day Treat it Forward
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 00:23:54 -0400

Dear Rachel,

I found your email address in my "history."  I submitted the note below on June 17 and never heard back.  Can someone answer my questions?  I felt like I was being "stopped."


From: Rachel
Subject: Wendy's
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 13:30:48 +0000
The donation was capped at $50,000 and this was included in our disclaimers also. Please let me know if you have any further questions and I apologize for the confusion!

Consumer Relations
To: Rachel
Subject: RE: Wendy's
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 23:02:39 -0400

Dear Rachel,
Thank you for responding.  I’m sure you’re right—I missed the disclaimer.  I know it wasn’t glaringly visible on the posting that caught my attention.  That read “
Thaaaaat’s right. Keep spreadin’ the word and Wendy's will keep donating to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Each shout-out on Facebook or Twitter is a 50¢ donation.”

I’m a big fan of Wendy’s, and a bigger fan of adoption.    Parents that I know spent 3 years and roughly $40k to adopt a son.  Friends of mine were adopted, and wouldn’t be who they are if not for this blessing.  Your video states 115,000 are in foster care, in need of adoption.

As a father of two, I don’t have a lot of spare money to donate, so I thought, “what a great opportunity to help!”

 I don’t have a lot of spare time, after work, commute, driving kids to practice, etc.  I made sure to donate most of my free time that week.  As I learned later, I started shouting out well after you reached $50k, , so every one of my clicks, several hours worth, were for naught.

Why, I wonder, wouldn’t you shut it down when you reached the $50k?  Could it be because each of my clicks was a tiny advertisement, and there were several thousand of us shouting out after the quota was met?

Look, I know Wendy’s profits are down.  My research says roughly $865 million in 2010, which is down.  We’re all struggling—underemployment, pay freezes, rising costs. 

Why did you cap it at $50k?  That’s $0.43 per kid.   My clicks, had they counted, would’ve accounted for roughly $0.01 of those $0.43 per kid.

I feel like I was tricked.  I feel like you used me as a pawn to advertise Wendy’s to my friends, well after the fundraiser was over.  It’s just disappointing.


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