The Official Half Court Shot Playable on Your Phone

Wendy's, VMLY&R and Hidden Switch deliver an interactive Half Court Shot for the official sponsor, bringing March Madness antics to millions on Facebook and Instagram.

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Authentically engaging with consumers is important to us, so inviting them into our first virtual reality world, Wendyverse, was exciting! We’ll continue to operate Wendyverse with more worlds and new creator content this year in alignment with future brand offers. We’ll also maintain our business-as-usual campaigns to ensure we’re keeping an eye on the bottom line while also maintaining our status as an innovative brand.

Carl Loredo
Chief Marketing Officer, Wendy’s

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Wendy's, in collaboration with ad agency VMLY&R and creative studio Hidden Switch, developed an engaging and imaginative series of ads to connect with March Madness fans and offer unique experiences to a diverse audience. The campaign was centered around a 45-second video game, where players attempted to make a half-court shot, with prizes and coupons offered for better performance.

The team used a multi-phase strategy, blending business-as-usual video ads with ads featuring augmented reality (AR) filter effects, linked to interactive gaming experiences, and showcasing a futuristic virtual reality (VR) world. Wendy's campaign was designed to strengthen brand awareness, brand consideration, and sales across Meta's platforms.

The components of the whole campaign focused on:

  1. Brand Awareness: Wendy's partnered with Meta to launch the Wendyverse—a virtual Wendy's restaurant available in Horizon Worlds, a free virtual reality online video game. The Wendyverse highlighted Wendy's as the "official breakfast" of March Madness and offered fans a chance to explore a new world designed exclusively for them. The campaign reached 52 million people between March 13-April 30, 2022.
  2. Consideration: Wendy's commissioned two March Madness AR experiences—an interactive ad in Instagram feed with AR camera filter effects, and a video linking to a third-party gaming microsite with an interactive gaming experience. These activations aimed to include people who didn't have a Meta Quest headset.
  3. Conversion: Wendy's built two video ads delivered in Facebook and Instagram feeds, Stories, and Reels, showcasing Wendy's breakfast items for March Madness. The first ad included a call-to-action button linking to a third-party delivery service's app or website for ordering, while the second ad had an "Install Now" button to download Wendy's mobile app to order food.

Wendy's virtual basketball experience during March Madness achieved outstanding results:

  • 9.1-point lift in ad recall
  • 2.9-point lift in message association with March Madness via in-stream ads
  • 2.9-point lift in purchase intent via business-as-usual ads
  • 4.1-point lift in ad recall for the half-court shot AR ad/gaming microsite ad
  • 4.2-point lift in ad recall for video ads about Wendyverse

By offering an engaging and immersive virtual basketball game, Wendy's successfully connected with millions of fans during March Madness, resulting in increased brand awareness, consideration, and sales.

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