How Wendy’s Cups Created a #SocialWin

By Amanda Moline

Adoption was a key cause that Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas supported throughout his life. Dave Thomas was adopted himself, and because of his own experiences, he was dedicated to finding children their forever homes. Wendy’s as a corporation has made it a goal to continue to support adoption in North America through the support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and from these efforts came the #Share4Adoption campaign, a social media effort that was part of a multifaceted, year-long awareness campaign. Other aspects of the campaign included a Father’s Day Frosty weekend to raise awareness for the estimated 134,000 foster children currently up for adoption through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

The #Share4Adoption aspect of the campaign utilized Wendy’s medium cups, a half-heart hand symbol and the power of social media. For each unique post featuring a photo of the author’s hand completing a half-heart featured on Wendy’s cups and the hashtag #Share4Adoption, Wendy’s donated $5 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Wendy’s vowed to donate up to $500,000 to the cause.

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To make the process as simple and engaging as possible, the cup featured detailed instructions explaining how to take the photo, which social media sites to publish it on and how to participate in the conversation by using the hashtag.


Though this campaign facilitated many interactions between social media users and the company, Wendy’s remained relatively quiet about the campaign on social media, as company-generated #Share4Adoption tweets were only sent out about 5 times, compared to a total of 66.6 thousand total tweets posted by the company as of February 2016. Each company-generated tweet was original, simple and engaging, with the use of GIFs and high-quality photos.

To improve the social engagement aspect of this campaign, Wendy’s could have hyped up this campaign to a much greater extent. The result of Wenwendy'sdy’s reaching their $500,000 goal was not highly publicized besides one tweet posted by the company. Information about the engagement with the company on social media concerning this campaign is not widely available online, though one can deduce that at least 100,000 unique posts were made on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram from July 1 and July 28, when the company reached their goal.

The grassroots attempt at engaging an audience was relatively successful, as many customers engaged with the company and the hashtag that may not have participated without the purpose of the campaign. An engaging and philanthropic opportunity for slacktivists, many social media users created organic, original content in Wendy’s restaurants, in their vehicles after picking up a Wendy’s drink and even in their offices.


Baker, S. M. (2015, June 11). How Eating a Lot of Frostys This Summer Will Help Adoption. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Ribali, K. (2015, May 26). Wendy’s Continues Its Mission to Unite Foster Care Children with Forever Families. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Smith, D. P. (2014, June). Wendy’s Lends Its Voice to Adoption. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Wendy’s Helps the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Give the Gift of Family through Ninth Annual Father’s Day Frosty Weekend and New #Share4Adoption Campaign. (2015, June 18). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Wendy’s® Launches National Marketing Campaign to Give a Voice to Foster Care Adoption. (2014, March 20). Retrieved February 8, 2016, from

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