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Wendy's celebrates the unexpected with American Authors

This post is part of the Food Writer’s Diary blog.

Wendy's seems super excited about its recently introduced Bacon Mozzarella Burger, which has such not-so-expected ingredients as mozzarella cheese and garlic Parmesan cheese spread.

I mean, you would expect mozzarella on something called the Bacon Mozzarella Burger, but burgers generally come with cheese other than mozzarella, like American, Swiss or Cheddar.

And garlic Parmesan cheese spread isn't exactly earth shattering — I mean it's not like they're putting chocolate sauce or anchovies on the burgers (I don't have to search the Internet to know that those things have been put on burgers somewhere at some point) — but it’s a nice little upgrade.

Wendy’s has been doing upgrades like that for awhile. Back in early 2014 they launched the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger, which had oven-roasted tomatoes and rosemary garlic aïoli. Pretty fancy.

American Authors lead singer Zac Barnett talks about the Wendy's promotion. Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Wendy’s

And they're currently offering a Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, which has white beans and quinoa and roasted vegetables on it — all rather unexpected at a quick-service burger chain.

But unexpected things are good, argues Wendy's, and to prove it they’re doing a whole media campaign around a new song by rock band American Authors, called "Right Here Right Now," which dropped yesterday on a website Wendy's created for that purpose:

Wendy's Bacon Mozzarella Burger. Photo courtesy of Wendy's

And to promote that, they hosted a little impromptu jam session by the band at the Midtown Manhattan studio of their label, Island Records.

Well, it wasn't completely impromptu: I was invited the day before, and I like live music, so I went.

Also, I was promised a burger.

Lead singer Zac Barnett explained the rationale behind the promotion: “People are getting music in so many different ways. It’s not just like, cool, you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone, and then you hear it on the radio. It’s not really what it’s about nowadays. It’s about people discovering blogs and Soundcloud and memes and all this different stuff.”

In fact, American Authors got their big break when their song "Best Day of my Life" was featured in a bunch of commercials.

On top of that, Barnett likes Wendy's.

American Authors. Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Wendy’s

“We all grew up eatin’ Wendy’s and dipping French fries in Frosties,” he said.

The band played an acoustic version of the song for us in Island Records’ lounge, which was awesome — in no small part because listening to really talented musicians perform for small audiences is just about the best thing a person can do — along with a few other of their songs.

I actually recorded that acoustic version and would let you judge for yourself how good it was, but the band asked us not to post any videos because they weren't properly miked up.

It could be argued that that’s not exactly in the spirit of unexpected being good, and it means that their performance will be lost to history, but hey, I'm big on respecting intellectual property, and I like the authorized version, too.

And there were free burgers.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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