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Monday Meeting: Morgan Smith Goodwin Returns

◙ Judging by the positive feedback following her first appearance, many diners will be more excited to see actress Morgan Smith Goodwin (below) return this week to Wendy’s advertising than they are to hear about the side dishes she’s promoting.

Wendy’s, as noted before, is pursuing a Geico-like strategy of having multiple ad campaigns, each with its own tagline. The red-haired Ms. Goodwin brightens the “Now that’s better” menu-promotional ads while the original Wendy, Wendy Thomas, concentrates more on brand building in her “Wendy’s Way”-themed commercials. Wendy’s execs talked to AdAge about the strategy last week. Commentors on this blog and elsewhere enthusiastically endorsed the first “Now that’s better” spot.

The new TV spot with Ms. Goodwin (left), promoting the addition of the new sides—mac & cheese, Chili Cheese Fries and baked sweet potatoes—breaks today (April 28). Kaplan Thaler Group handles Wendy’s. Another commercial has her touting late-night dining.

◙ McDonald’s CEO-to-be Don Thompson has often talked about bringing menu items from overseas to the U.S.  During the company’s April 20 quarterly earnings call, in fact, he promised that the chain “will share even more menu ideas [in the future] from our strong global pipeline.”

Belgian TV spots show McWraps being assembled.

While the chain always has an array of interesting burgers in foreign markets (see the double-patty Steakhouse Classic and Grilled Beef BBQ burgers in Austria now), sources say the first international hit to be brought here may well be the McWrap. The chain has smaller snack wraps here but not full-size wraps, and they’ve been popular wherever tried

McWraps are in Argentina and Chile.

McDonald’s has offered versions of the McWrap across Europe and the UK. It’s on offer in Belgium currently (in Chicken & Bacon and Beef & Pepper varieties). The idea already has been exported to South America, where they’re promoted as McRoulettes in Argentina and McWraps in Chile. In both countries, the wraps are offered in Classic (chicken), Bacon (with chicken) and Veggie. Brazil? No, the onion-ring-topped Texas Onion burger LTO is being pitched there.

BK's Churrasquito in Argentina

Burger King has an innovative line of sandwiches on offer in Argentina, a key market (recall that the chain reported Q1 comp sales change of +9.7% in South America, compared with a -2.0% decline in North America).

Burger King’s new “Churrasquito” sandwiches look a little like the McBaguettes McDonald’s is selling in France. These Argentine sandwiches feature what’s described “Creole-style meat”—two long and flat pieces of beef like skirt steak for fajitas. There are three varieties: Churrasquito Tradicional (with cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo); Churrasquito Patagónico (with grilled onions); and Churrasquito Pampeano (with ham and cheese on the beef).

With the exception of Whopper varieties, Burger King historically has avoided moving menu items among countries, but the Churrasquito line certainly would make an novel addition to its U.S. menu.

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