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Creative Director’s Choice: Saatchi & Saatchi NY’s Daniel Lobatón on ‘Keeping Fortnite Fresh'


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

January 2, 2020 | 4 min read

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the best work and spotlight campaigns that are making a difference.

Wendy's Fortnight

Wendy's Fortnite campaign

This week, Daniel Lobatón, executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi NY, talks about the Wendy’s ‘Keeping Fortnite Fresh’ in-game campaign.

Daniel Lobaton

I love everything that’s going on with fast food advertising in the US. This category has found its true freshness in social, eSports and mobile where they have been shining for the past few years.

So which piece of work should be my top pick? This is the tricky part. BK’s ‘Whopper Detour’ has, in record time, become the kind of idea that makes clients say “bring me something like this.”

KFC is excellent in every single piece of advertising, from their rotating cast of celebrities as Colonel Sanders on TV, to their anime ‘I love you, Colonel Sanders’ Steam video game, creative consistency is the hardest thing to pull off – and they nail it every time.

But I think the VMLY&R and Wendy’s ‘Keeping Fortnite Fresh’ campaign is my favorite. For context, Wendy’s always uses fresh beef, not frozen. They found out that the fictional Fortnite in-game burger chain had freezers as part of the game’s design. So, they got into the game as a red-haired female character that conveniently resembles the Wendy’s logo. Instead of fighting other players they started destroying the freezers. With an axe.

I love this for three reasons. First, I found it organically on my Twitter feed. It was retweeted by gaming sites like IGN and featured on Twitch’s highlight tweet. Why does this matter? Because it means their audience, nerds like myself, were exposed to the idea even if they weren’t playing at the time.

Second, because it is one of those “hack with zero budget” ideas that are so simple, so scrappy that you have to applaud it. I am originally from Peru, and a few years ago that was a mandate: hack something with zero money, make the brand famous. The Wendy’s team succeeded by keeping eyes and ears open, reacting fast and making it happen simply by picking up a controller.

Last but not least, it’s an absurd idea, yet perfectly on point: “We’re all about fresh? Let’s destroy freezers. With an axe, in the video game where our fans are.” Brilliant.

Another key to their success is the big social media following they’ve built over the past few years. It gives them the credentials to go and do something like this without the consumer being cynical about it.

Daniel Lobatón is executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi NY.

See the work by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

Wendy's: Keeping Fortnite Fresh by VML

By Wendy's

Overall Rating 5/5

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