Eateries create romance novels

Increasingly, for modern young consumers to care about an ad, it needs to feel less like pure marketing and more like entertainment. Brands across all verticals are meeting this desire by creating their own content, from music to movies to poetry, that reflect their personality and values. The latest medium to get the branded treatment is romance novels. 


To demonstrate the love one can feel for its teas, Wendy’s, known for its tongue-in-cheek social media content, created parody romance novels where its drinks are the love interest. The six steamy stories, one for each of its flavors, were written exclusively for Wattpad, the online community where users can post original writing. For instance, Forbidden Fruit Tea is the story of a love triangle between a man, a woman, and Berry Cherry Fruit Tea. Instead of paying for ad spots on the platform, Wendy’s set up a user profile, enabling Wattpad readers to discover its creations within lists of stories, and created trailers for them.


Wendy’s isn’t the only fast food brand that’s penned a romance novel. Last year, KFC, which is no stranger to creative marketing initiatives, released a 96-page romance novel about Colonel Sanders’s love affair with Lady Madeline Parker. For a limited time, fans could download the story, titled Tender Wings of Desire, as an ebook on Amazon. The brand also gave away 100 hardback copies to fans on Facebook. The book not only got fans to spend time reading a branded ad, but many even left reviews on Amazon, noting their appreciation of the brand’s creativity.


Two-thirds of global youth aged 14-34 say brands need to have a popular culture component to be relevant, as discovered in our Global Culture Forecast. Much like Wendy’s and KFC, UK-based eatery New York Bakery Co. demonstrated its pop culture savvy by launching a trilogy of romance novels, where bagels and toppings realize they’re a perfect match. The stories, dubbed A Strawberry Seduction, An Avocado Affair, and The Burger Infidelity, were printed for readers, as well as photographed for ads. Meanwhile, the brand videotaped unsuspecting people listening to the novels, demonstrating the hilarity of the stories.