A dispute between the nation’s No. 2 and No. 3 hamburger chains ended Friday. The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of the Better Business Bueaus determined that Wendy’s provided sufficient evidence for its “Always fresh, never frozen” claim from the company’s 2007 marketing campaign.

The advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, NAD, examined print, television, and Internet advertisements following a challenge by Wendy’s competitor Burger King.

The first television ad in dispute asks viewers, “If hamburgers were meant to be frozen, wouldn’t cows be from Antarctica?” The second features a child telling his father about Wendy’s commitment to deliver “fresh, never frozen beef.” Print and Internet claims included: “Wendy’s. Always fresh, never frozen!” and “Wendy’s. Always fresh, never frozen! That’s right” accompanied by a $1 off coupon and picture of burger, fries, and beverage.

Before Burger King’s challenge, Wendy’s removed “overly broad” advertising that may have suggested that the “always fresh” claim applied to all products rather than just hamburger patties. The company also took steps to add a disclaimer to all advertising in Hawaii and Alaska where patties are frozen. The disclaimer is “Fresh beef available in 48 contiguous U.S. and CN.”

”Our fresh, never frozen beef gives us a real point of difference in marketplace,” Bob Bertini, director of communications for Wendy’s, wrote in an e-mail to QSR.

According to the NAD, Wendy’s can back up its claim, not just advertise it. In an affidavit to the organization, Bob McQuattie, vice president of product and technical services quality assurances for Wendy’s, detailed the manufacturing and packaging process for the patties. The affidavit gave the NAD a thorough explanation of how the process was specifically designed to process only fresh beef and why there is no danger of beef temperature falling below the freezing point.

“We’re pleased with the decision and remain focused on serving our customers great-tasting hamburgers each and every time they visit Wendy’s,” Bertini said.

Denise Wilson, senior analyst, communications for Burger King, says the company appreciates the NAD’s attention to the matter. “We will continue to support industry self-regulation as a means of ensuring truth and accuracy in national advertising,” she wrote in an e-mail to QSR.

–Blair Chancey

Legal, News, Burger King, Wendy's