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July 7, 2015

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Las Vegas to serve as test market for Wendy’s burger line

Ad campaign next week will feature daughter of founder Dave Thomas


Steve Marcus

Wendy Thomas poses at the Wendy’s restaurant at 3333 W. Tropicana Ave. Thursday, November 4, 2010. Thomas was promoting the new Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers. Wendy is the daughter of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas.

Wendy's Commercial: Las Vegas

Although Wendy Thomas has been the face of Wendy's since 1969, she's hasn't appeared in a TV ad campaign until now. Starting next week, three commercials will run exclusively in the Las Vegas Valley introducing the fast-food chain's new hamburger, the Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger.

Wendy Thomas Launches Burger Line

Wendy Thomas poses at the Wendy's restaurant at 3333 W. Tropicana Ave. Thursday, November 4, 2010. Thomas was promoting the new Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburgers. Wendy is the daughter of Wendy's founder Dave Thomas. Launch slideshow »

Wendy Thomas remembers sitting anxiously in her red, braided pigtails and blue-checkered dress while her photo was taken to create a logo for her father’s hamburger joint. In her 8-year-old mind, it seemed like hours, Thomas recalls.

"I just remember sitting there forever. My mom stuck pipe cleaners in my pigtails to make them stick straight up and I smiled so much that my face hurt by the end," she said. "It was a painful process."

Thomas’ famous face has been plastered on Wendy’s locations worldwide since 1969, but surprisingly, she’s never appeared in a commercial for the fast-food chain. That will change next week when a set of three commercials featuring Thomas exclusively hits Las Vegas.

The TV ads will introduce the Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger line, which also will be exclusive to the Las Vegas market until it goes national in June 2011.

The commercial features a much older Thomas (sans pigtails), faux flashbacks of Thomas and her father, and a mobile drive-through serving drivers on a highway -- one of her father’s many crazy ideas, Thomas said.

Las Vegas has been singled out as the test market for the new burger and ad campaign, as it often is for new products for the chain, Wendy’s Senior Vice President of Communications Denny Lynch said.

"It’s an all-American city. You have a broad spectrum of people," Lynch said. "You can run a media campaign in this city that is pretty much contained to the Vegas area, so there’s no spillover to other cities."

Because of Las Vegas’ more remote location and distance from other major markets "what’s advertised in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas," Lynch said.

Thomas, who owns 33 Wendy’s franchises with her siblings, agreed that Las Vegas a near-perfect location for product testing.

Click to enlarge photo

A new Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger is shown at the Wendy's restaurant at 3333 W. Tropicana Ave. Thursday, November 4, 2010.

"You have a great demographic. You’re young, you’re old. You have everything here," Thomas said.

The company recently tested its new line of salads in Las Vegas and will soon test a version of its fries seasoned with sea salt.

"Everything starts in Vegas," Thomas said.

Thomas and other Wendy’s executives are in town for the 19th annual Wendy’s 3 Tour Challenge golf tournament at the Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson. Since its start, the tournament has raised more than $35 million for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which helps to place foster children in permanent homes.

This year’s tournament is expected to raise more than $3 million.

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  1. Comment removed by moderator. Off topic.

  2. I always liked Dave Thomas in Wendy's commercials. He was rather folksy - down to earth. Too bad I liked Burger King's charbroiled burgers better. Still do.

  3. Wendy's burgers are awesome! Will these new burgers still be square? I sure hope so!

  4. Often the best man for the job is a woman. Hmmm, well good luck to ya, Wendy!

  5. Perfect. We're the fourth fattest city in the nation.

  6. Chunky says:

    He thanks Wendy's for coming to Las Vegas for your commercials and other events!

    We appreciate the business or at least many of us do!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  7. murrayburns, your using old numbers.

    For 2010 we are the 20th fattest city. ;-)

    Maybe that Salad test Wendy's did here helped slim us down! ;-)

    Either way, glad Wendy and her company are using Vegas for something positive. We are a good test market since we have a little bit of everyone here.

    Every little bit helps.

  8. Wendy's has really gotten its act together as of late. Their drive-thru is SO FAST!

  9. Wendy should read "The China Study" by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a 40 year Cornell veteran in disease and nutrition research. See his foundation at:

    The China study was commissioned by Chou En-Lai while he was dying of cancer. It is an international study that included researchers from all over the world that looked into every piece of evidence and then correlated the results.

    Cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and beyond are western diseases. They result from opulence in lifestyle and nutrition. Eating meat is a luxury but it doesn't stop there. I get no commission for this blurb either.

    Campbell will tell you the results of the research, then you can make up your mind.

    Want to just FEEL BETTER TOO? Get the audiobook then you can listen while commuting. Back off the burgers and get your guts rinsed - you'll never regret it!

  10. Thanks for the correction VegasLee, though how does a figure for 2010 become available before the end of the year?

  11. Jerry, I like BK better, too.

    But yeah, I also liked Dave Thomas, too. Saw him making a commercial at the mall, when I moved here.

    SunJon...flip the coin over...Radiant Health with Brian Peskin will offer another view.

    Distribute the "Food, Inc" DVD, though and fast food places will take a fast, hard dive.

    In other words, before you eat it. LOL

  12. At least seven comments removed by staff in only a five hour period in an article about hamburgers?

    Wow, that says something about our community. But then again the wise guys could be in Russia somewhere, huh?

    Can't people be civil about discussing day-to-day things like hamburgers?

    I agree lvfacts101, Danny Thomas was much like Lee
    Iacocca in that people trusted him. He had an Americanism about him that made fair and honest business practices appealing. Both men were the best image for their company.

    Maybe that's why the article generated so much difficulty for the Las Vegas Sun staff from the 7 nasty commenters.

    Wendy does a great job, and I've enjoyed all of the burger joints. Competition is the best deal for a good price.

    That's capitalism!

  13. murrayburns,

    The study is normally published in April of each year.

  14. My nurse is very strict, and It's "forbotten" to eat the bun (carbs), the meat (hormones & calories), the sauce (sodium and fat), or the cheese. The pickle looks good,though. No one is forcing me to eat one. Health is wealth. Better to be known as a French Fry test site, than a Nuclear one. Bombs away.

  15. From one Wendy to "THE" Wendy - Where's the Beef?! LOL Loved that old ad campaign. You go girl !!! I still love a frosty with fries dipped gotta try it to love moderation, of course.

  16. Lay off the saturated fat and bleached flour. Lean meat and whole grain with plenty of fiber, veggies and no corn syrup!!

    Walk at least 2 miles a day non-stop.

    That's what saltydawg thinks.

  17. Tried one today. It was a great burger. Good luck to Wendy's.

  18. I like Wendys, and think it is a really good choice they come here first to test, they believe in Vegas and we all should to.

    As far as the "being fat country" would you rather be in a country where food is scarce? Where there is no choice on how much you can eat?

    VegasSays, do what I do, eat that yummy Wendys, and then walk on the wonderful Vegas strip, workout,run or take the pets for a nice walk (don`t want them fat) it`s your choice to stay healthy, or become what you don`t want to be. Don`t blame others and don`t bite the hand that feeds you, be happy for the things we have and that MANY others don`t.