Known for their hot fries, crispy chicken nuggets, and trademark square burgers, Wendy’s has been a fast food industry staple for decades. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t think of Wendy’s being associated with social activism or political issues. To me, they are fun and pretty sassy but that’s as far as it goes.
Creative Bloq recently reported that Wendy’s Canada went grey in support of Canadian TV journalist Lisa LaFlamme. LaFlamme who was pressured to dye her hair blonde whilst she remained on air refused continuously and soon the 58-year-old anchor was fired from her position.
Shortly after her dismissal from the air, Wendy’s Canada posted on Twitter. An otherwise normal Wendy was sporting her usual smile but this time her hair was silver and grey instead of her normal fire red. The tagline above said, “Because a [star emoji] is a [star emoji] regardless of hair colour.”
One would automatically think this is a kind gesture of solidarity towards LaFlamme, who took a stand and stood up to ageism in the workplace. And many commenters of the post agree. One person said “Wow! Respect! Thank you for supporting #LisaLaFlamme in this wonderful way!” and another stated “Bringing the spice, much like your chicken sandwich or wrap, and is equally delicious. Loving this!“
However, there are those that question Wendy’s intentions which is completely fair given how many companies these days practice “woke washing” – or the act of making money off a cause but not addressing how their business is complicit. For example, the many companies who only fly the pride flag during pride month to make sales but behind the scenes still support other companies who are anti-LGBTQ+.
In today’s society, you can’t play both fields to line your pockets. People will find out.
Like one individual who tweeted “This is great. But have you removed your advertising from their news coverage? Have to hit them where it means something, their bank account!” Pointing out the fact though Wendy’s claims to support LaFlamme, they haven’t actually shone any disconnection from the news network in question and continue to air their ads during the programming.
Another individual made a point to say “I can’t believe people are falling for this blatant marketing stunt. Maybe I wouldn’t question your sincerity so much if you had actually ‘aged’ Wendy so she doesn’t look like a 16-year-old girl who colored her hair. It’s not about hair color, it’s about ageism.”
Folks who are calling Wendys’ actions “Woke Washing” ageism might not be wrong. Only time will tell to see if Wendy’s actions back up their message. Only then will people fully trust that this wasn’t just another publicity stunt or heat-of-the-moment opinion.
No brand nor company is perfect. They will not always be politically correct or have the best intentions at heart. They will not always say and do the things we as individuals want them to do. Regardless of Wendy’s intentions and how we feel about how the issue was handled, they were still able to bring awareness to the real issue of ageism. A problem that continues to grow every passing year.