Wendy’s goes south

In what would be an ominous development for the Canadian marketing community, industry insiders say u.s. fast food chain Wendy's appears to have implemented a North American marketing strategy.Ed Ourant, president of Wendy's Restaurant's of Canada, has confirmed reports that Karen...

In what would be an ominous development for the Canadian marketing community, industry insiders say u.s. fast food chain Wendy’s appears to have implemented a North American marketing strategy.

Ed Ourant, president of Wendy’s Restaurant’s of Canada, has confirmed reports that Karen Mcguire, marketing vice-president of the Canadian operation since 1991, was let go at the start of the year.

The company, which has been trimming its marketing department for some time and has run only u.s.-made advertising since 1991, now manages the Canadian English-language marketplace with just four marketers, two in Toronto and two in Vancouver.

As one marketing industry insider phrased it, ‘Wendy’s has vaporized its Canadian marketing department.’

But indications are the Toronto-based company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based Wendy’s, has gone far beyond merely shifting marketing responsibility to the parent company.

Within weeks of Mcguire’s dismissal, Wendy’s laid off two more top executives in positions responsible for real estate development and franchise development.

Lay-offs

And in March and May of 1992, it laid off, first, its head of purchasing and, next, its head of finance.

Those positions were never refilled.

Similarly, in the case of Mcguire, Ourant said in an interview he has no plans to replace her, adding ‘I will assume responsibility for marketing.’

Ourant, who took over as president of the Canadian organization in 1992, refused to speak further on the matter.

Before assuming the Canadian presidency at Wendy’s, Ourant, a u.s. citizen, spent about seven years with the company south of the border.

It is understood the three executives dismissed earlier this month were given notice by a human resources employee from the Wendy’s head office in Columbus.

Apparently, the emloyee made the trip to Toronto to carry out the task.

N.A. advertising

North American brand advertising for Wendy’s, which focusses on company founder Dave Thomas, is currently created by Backer Spielvogel Bates of New York.

In 1990, Wendy’s appeared set to try to build a Canadian identity when it awarded its brand advertising account to a Toronto-based agency with a reputation for hot creative, Harrod & Mirlin.

But a year later, then vice-president of marketing Doug Woodside, shifted the account to a retail agency, Toronto’s Padulo Advertising.

At that time, Woodside said the company did not require the brand building talents of h&m since it had decided to follow the lead of its u.s. parent.