On August 12th, 2020 the podcast Sir, This is a Wendy’s Podcast launched with a nearly two-minutes first episode offering a promo code for a free* 4 for $4 meal. The show is hosted on Anchor and seems to be headed by someone aware enough of the podcasting world to submit on both Spotify and RadioPublic.
Much digital ink has been spilled hashing out the question “is this a podcast?” Audiobooks uploading to an RSS feed, audio-only art installations, YouTubers filming themselves talk for two hours on Twitch, there’s much meat on the bone for philosophical debate over what qualifies as a podcast.
Sir, This is a Wendy’s Podcast, in this critic’s educated opinion, is not a podcast. It’s an ad spot in a podcast’s clothing. What’s worse, it doesn’t even have the bare minimum aspirational goal of being a solid advertisement for The Wendy’s Company’s subsidiary fast food chain Wendy’s.
After years of the Wendy’s Twitter account posting sassy replies, the notion of what could constitute a Wendy’s Podcast could, potentially, be interesting. Will they go the McDonald’s route with a Serial spoof? Some sort of crossover with an internet personality?
How less than two minutes of someone giving you a Postmates promo code?
There’s some attempt at building up hype with the idea that the code will only work for the first 44,444 users. The host also says “this week on” which I take as either an inference it’ll be a weekly feed or whoever wrote the script simply threw in a radio trope that many podcasters have adopted out of habit.
No credits, no website, nothing in the description, no podcatching websites that offer direct download links. It’s as ephemeral as the long-since-deleted McDonald’s outing The Sauce
And, as of this writing, I can confirm the podcast hasn’t had 44,444 listeners who met the trifecta of the following requirements:
1. Be a person who’ll listen to a Wendy’s-branded podcast.
2. Have access to and wish to use Postmates.
3. Want a 4 for $4 combo (as well as a further $6 worth of Wendy’s products to make the code valid, Postmates fees, and driver tip).
The three main forms of advertisement for Sir, This is a Wendy’s Podcast seem to be an article on a random gaming website, a tweet from the Wendy’s Twitter, and a push notification sent out to Postmates users this morning. Despite their massive following, it seems the podcast experiment isn’t catching the expected traction as they’ve tweeted out the code on its own with no mention of the podcast.
Will this feed continue uploading regularly? Will they use a sock account to dunk on me on Twitter since I have them blocked? Will any other fast food chain step up and make a halfway decent podcast? We may never know.