Tag Archives: Clara Peller

“Where’s The Beef?” Wendy’s Ad

Remember this 1980’s commercial?

Still funny after 31 years.

Wendy’s had one of the best commercials from the 1980’s. This classic commercial kicked of one of their biggest advertising campaign on January 10, 1984. This memorable TV commercial starred character actress Clara Peller, at the age of 81, asking “Where’s The Beef?”

The line instantly became a catchphrase across the United States.

Here is a little “did you know” fact? The original line was, “Where is all the beef?” However, Peller had a breathing problem, so they shortened it. You have to wonder, would the original question have made the same impact?

Sales for Wendy’s rocketed 31 percent in 1985 worldwide. Wendy’s then Senior Vice President for Communications, Denny Lynch, was quoted as saying, ”With Clara we accomplished as much in five weeks as we did in 14½ years.”

The phrase became associated with the 1984 U.S. Presidential election.  Democratic candidate and former Vice President Walter Mondale used it to sum up his arguments against his rival, Senator Gary Hart.

Promotional items were endless, including bumper stickers, frisbees, clothing patches, t-shirts and more. Where’s the Beef even became a Milton Bradley board game.

wheres-the-beef

As popular as the advertising campaign had been, it had a short life and ended in 1985. Peller not understanding her non-compete contract with Wendy’s, signed a contract with the Campbell Soup Company to appear in an advertisement for Prego Pasta Spaghetti Sauce. In the commercial she declares, “I found it! I really found it.” Wendy’s fired Peller. Denny Lynch released the following statement, “Clara can find the beef only in one place, and that is Wendy’s”.

After reaching an all time high with the “Where’s The Beef?” campaign, Wendy’s hit a two year low after dismissing Peller.

Peller died on August 11, 1987, in Chicago, one week after her 85th birthday.

clara

It’s your turn. What do you think? Do you remember the 1980’s commercial? Would the original question have made the same impact? Should Wendy’s have fired Peller?

Footnote: The cover art of the game box was done by none other than Jack Davis of Mad Magazine fame. I grew up on his work! Love it!!