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Wendy Herself Touts Chain’s Thicker Cheeseburger

[1/28 Update: Wendy's plans to introduce the Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger nationally in the second half of 2011.][Update: Wendy's rolled out its Natural-Cut Fries with sea salt across the U.S. on 11/10. Details here.]
Wendy’s hopes that what it’s testing in Vegas won’t just stay in Vegas.

The chain this week auditions a bigger, better cheeseburgers in Las Vegas stores, according to a report in the Las Vegas SunDave’s Hot ‘n Juicy Cheeseburger, previously tested in stores near the chain’s Dublin, Ohio, headquarters, is a quarter-pound patty, like the Wendy’s Single, but advertising describes it as the chain’s “thickest, hottest, juiciest” ever.

The woman making that claim in the commercial is Wendy Thomas (right), daughter of founder Dave Thomas and the chain’s namesake. In the spot, she also says the burger has “premium toppings” including a “warm, buttered, toasted bun.”

The company says it is testing the burger at several price points, but on average about 20¢ above the Classic Single price. The company also disputes the Sun’s report that a national rollout for the new thicker cheeseburgers in planned for June 2011, saying no date has been set and expansion is dependent on the line’s reception in Vegas. 

The Sun reports that Wendy’s also will add Las Vegas as a test market for its Natural-Cut Fries with sea salt that it has been testing at least since January. Sources say the chain intends to introduce the new fries at all Canadian locations by the end of this month.

Wendy’s agency Kaplan Thaler Group created the TV spot with Wendy Thomas. She and other Thomas family members (who continue to operate Wendy’s stores as franchisees) had been among the vocal critics of the “red wig” ad campaign created in 2008 by past agency Saatchi & Saatchi. That led to Saatchi being replaced by Kirschenbaum Bond + Partners, which itself was replaced last year by Kaplan Thaler, which created the popular current campaign themed “You know when it’s real.”

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