Wendy’s expands ‘Rick and Morty’ collab with pop-up diner, custom Coke flavors in 2021

custom Coke flavors

Plunge Brief:

Custom Coke flavors: Wendy’s is expanding its partnership with Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” series ahead of the series’ fifth season, which premieres June 20, according to a press release.
The collaboration includes two series-themed mixes available at Coca-Cola Freestyle vending machines at Wendy’s locations (June 16 through Aug. 22), free delivery through the Wendy’s app (June 17 through July 1) and a restaurant pop-up that will turn one of Wendy’s in Los Angeles into Morty’s (June 18-20).

The promotion, which also includes customized content on linear and digital channels, allows Wendy’s to deepen its relationship with the hit series, which has become a frequent brand partner, while also taking into account consumer behavior that has changed due to the pandemic.

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Diving into the essence:

Wendy’s expanded partnership with the “Rick and Morty” series allows the fast-food restaurant chain to connect with the hit series in several ways as part of an effort to attract younger consumers. The multi-channel promotion fits with changing consumer behaviors, such as delivery and content consumption, many of which changed during the pandemic and are transitioning into the new normal as vaccines continue to spread and the economy recovers.

“We love finding authentic ways to engage with this passionate fan audience, and we’re excited to extend the Rick and Morty experience to our menu, incredible content and great delivery offers throughout the season,” Wendy’s CEO Carl Loredo said in a press release.

The free in-app delivery offer is aimed at attracting consumers who have increasingly relied on delivery since the pandemic first put stationary restaurants at risk. By making this offer exclusive to its app, Wendy’s can collect first-party consumer data that would otherwise be collected by third-party delivery services whose uptake rates frustrate restaurant operators.

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Morty’s pop-up at the Panorama City location in Los Angeles is a return to a marketing tactic used before the pandemic, namely the personal experience that began to intensify as people returned to normal activities. Customized LED lighting, themed menus and a limited edition Pickle Rick Pickle Frosty can help Wendy’s expand the campaign with user-generated content as fans visit the establishment and share their experiences on social media.

As part of a broader campaign to increase the popularity of on-site restaurants, Wendy’s and Adult Swim partnered with Coca-Cola to create two new flavors – Portal Time Lemon Lime and BerryJerryboree – available in Freestyle vending machines at more than 5,000 Wendy’s locations. The Freestyle offering was part of Coke’s investment in digital and mobile technology, which increased during the pandemic.

“Choice and personalization are not fads, they will stay,” Eric Lewis, director of marketing for Coca-Cola Freestyle, said in a release.

Although Wendy’s collaborated with “Rick and Morty” last year on a commercial promoting its breakfast, the fast-food restaurant chain is not the first brand to tie its marriage to the witty, meta-cartoon. Notably, McDonald‘s faced criticism in 2017 after a failed collaboration with the series. Since then, “Rick and Morty” has become more involved in brand partnerships, from a Super Bowl campaign with Pringles to collaborations with Turo, Wrangler and Miracle Seltzer.

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