Wendy's Combines Signage, Packaging, Uniforms and More for Smash-Hit 'Rick and Morty' Restaurant Takeover
“Rick and Morty” has a rabid following, making it one of the most marketable TV shows in existence right now. If you create a “Rick and Morty” tie-in, fans will come in droves, like we saw at McDonald’s when it brought back a dipping sauce mentioned on the cartoon.
Wendy’s went a lot bigger with its co-branding initiative, transforming a California restaurant into “Morty’s,” complete with signage, food packaging, employee uniforms, giant inflatable characters and an immersive drive-thru experience.
And now a Bird Person's eye view of the greatest cheeseburger restaurant in the multiverse. pic.twitter.com/oawFI9wF6S
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) June 22, 2021
It drew crowds that sat in the drive-thru line for as long as seven hours, according to Business Insider.
The association with Rick & Morty is enough to bring out the fans, but Wendy’s paid attention to even the smallest details down to every cup. A new, limited edition Frosty flavor named after the “Pickle Rick” episode features Rick’s face on a clear cup full of the green drink.
Each beverage cup features Morty’s face with Wendy’s iconic braids, and each bag features the phrase “Wubba Lubba Grub Grub,” a take on Rick’s “catchphrase” “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub.”
Fast food chains are learning that co-branding with popular entertainment properties makes for instant sales boosts. Granted, “Rick and Morty” branding comes with the risk of a full-scale riot, but it worked for McDonald’s and BTS.
Just like that BTS promotion, “Morty’s” bags and packaging are listed on eBay, with a full set of packaging listed for around $100, stickers listed for $99.99, a hat listed for $600, a menu listed for $50 and a “Wubba Lubba Grub Grub” shirt listed for $200.
These are high asks, and there aren’t any bids on most of these, but people know that there’s always the chance of fans coughing up big money for an exclusive branded item like this.
Not every brand is going to have the pull of BTS or “Rick and Morty.” Most don’t, in fact. But what both of these promotions show is that placing branding or a logo in as many places as possible, and finding every opportunity for the promotion to integrate within the brand partner, will create demand.
It's also a good example of experiential marketing using printed and promotional products, with a variety of product categories—uniforms, signage, packaging—coming together for a comprehensive campaign.