Wendy’s with Clara Peller

Here’s an ad I could have done in the past but with so many other ideas for what should be discuss for articles, I decided to withhold until I felt like it. But today I decided to do this Wendy’s commercial since I didn’t get around to doing an article last week. Besides the ads with the Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas as the spokesperson, these ads were the other memorable ads that Wendy’s had to offer back in the day. All of these ads contain an elderly woman named Clara Peller who became the mascot of Wendy’s during the 80’s. What is so great about a woman you probably have seen shopping at the corner store? Well she became famous for saying the line “Where’s the beef!?” A phrase that put an impact on American culture for a lifetime.

Clara Peller was a small time actress and a manicurist, at age 80 she was hired as a temporary manicurist for a filming set at a Chicago barbershop. Noticed by her no-nonsense attitude and unique voice, the agency offered her a contract for a line of different commercials including one for Wendy’s. She sign on to the agreement despite that she’s hard of hearing, had emphysema, and cause her to be unable to speak long lines of dialogue. On January 10, 1984 Clara Peller first appears on a Wendy’s commercial where she’s accompanied by two other elderly women go to a fictional fast food restraunt called “Big Bun” where they order a burger that has big buns except the meat patty is very small. Upon the unsatisfied order she received Clara then demands with the line “Where’s the beef!” We don’t blame you Clara, no one deserves to get a burger that offers more bread but less meat. After the commercial aired on TV, the three word catchphrase was a hit to the public and Clara became a cult star. It also did wonders for the business at various Wendy’s across America. The most success the fast food chain has done in 14 and a half years.

Clara received $317.40 per day for doing the commercial, She stated in a People Magazine interview that she received a total of $30,000 for doing the first two commercials while Wendy’s claimed that she received $500,000 for doing the commercials which Clara denied she ever received that much money. Besides Wendy’s Clara was allowed to star in other commercials particularly an ad for Prego Pasta Plus sauce. In this ad she said her line “Where’s the beef?” only to discover that the sauce does have meat and she says “I found it! I really found it!” This ad became one of her biggest mistakes cause Wendy’s didn’t like how she found beef somewhere other than Wendy’s so they destroyed her contract and thus was the end of her success at Wendy’s. Clara didn’t like how she got sacked for advertising beef for another company and said this for a statement: “I’ve made them millions, and they don’t appreciate me!”. After getting rid of Clara, Wendy’s use of catchy ads didn’t get revived till five years later where they came up with something else to replace Clara Peller which involved humorous situations with Dave Thomas at Wendy’s.

After her short success at Wendy’s Clara went on to doing other things until she passed away on August 11, 1987 at age 85. She was buried at the Waldheim Jewish Cemetery in her hometown of Chicago. Thus was the end of the life of an elderly woman who didn’t receive any fame until towards the final years of her life. About nearly 30 years after the end of the original run of the Where’s the beef ads. Wendy’s brought back the slogan except they revised it to having a guy who is between late teens to mid 20’s wearing a Where’s the beef shirt and is asked the question in several different languages. Nothing too special about the ads, to me it worked better with a short old woman than using some dude who you probably see working at the mall cause that shirt he’s wearing looks like it could have been sold at a Hot Topic or any gimmick/commercialised shirt stores. Anyways that’s all to say about Clara Peller for next week I’ll talk about another Drug Free PSA from my childhood that is as memorable as the KB and Friends ads.


Posted on March 13, 2013, in Advertise of the Week. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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