Gamers Are 'Boycotting' Wendy's. Here's Why

Yesterday, the International Business Times rushed to share a piece of Wendy's drama that occurred over the weekend without considering what the story was. In their telling, followers of a Minecraft streamer joined together to boycott Wendy's.

It began with Wendy's decision to play Genshin Impact, an open world fantasy RPG, on Twitch, inviting their customers to tell them how to play. Some viewers asked Wendy's to sponsor GeorgeNotFound, a large Minecraft streamer. Wendy's denied the request and posted a poll on Twitter asking "Should I ban George again?" A clear majority said yes. Next, in Meaww's reporting, another big name streamer, Dream, responded with a Tweet containing a picture of a Denny's logo and wrote "ratioed by Denny's." Soon, many others jumped in with their own suggestions and "#boycottwendys" was spawned.

However, what some of this coverage of the Wendy's boycott fails to address is that it's nothing more than a joke. Hitc notes in their coverage of the boycott that, "In short, the trend is nothing but a silly prank being played by streamers." Considering the amount of trolling Wendy's Twitter team regularly engages in, Wendy's will likely not consider the so-called boycott worth worrying over. Most likely, this will bring publicity for all involved.

Some voices very much in the minority, however, suggested that an actual boycott be called due to how Wendy's treats the farmworkers who harvest their ingredients (via Twitter).

All this is very on brand for Wendy's

No one should feign surprise over Wendy's involvement in a social media kerfuffle. Such noise seems the nexus of their social media strategy.

In a post about Wendy's social media strategy on Medium, Yannick Bikker touches upon a reason why "controversy" like the banishing of George as well as other roasts of both customers and competitors may work in Wendy's favor: "The tweets and roasts were funny because their Twitter marketing is geared towards young people who enjoy seeing Twitter beef, which fits perfectly for them." Also, they sell burgers, which does not call for the most sober of appearances.

Fast Company agrees, singling out Twitter as the ideal platform for Wendy's sass suffused brand. It was for this strategy that Fast Company gave Wendy's the No. 1 spot on their 2019 Most Innovative Companies list in the Social Media category. "As it turns out," Fast Company writes, "likes, laughs, and retweets translate to tangible results." In 2019, Wendy's snark was met with six years of same-store sales growth.

People expect Wendy's to toe the line between playful and slightly rude, so, naturally, they'll respond in kind or respond well to them focusing on certain targets, like Twitch streamers. Any supposed drama that has occurred will almost certainly not hurt Wendy's — as long as you can take the joke.