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Retro Training Review: Wendy's Hot Drinks

We're excited to introduce a new series where we'll be reviewing retro training videos. You'll undoubtedly get some laughs out of the content, but we'll do our damnedest to look past the jingles (and the dancing... ohhh the dancing) to get to some actual useful analysis of what's being taught.

To kick things off, let's jump in the way back machine to the early 90s, where Wendy's sought to connect with the MTV generation.

We imagine the conversation at HQ went something like this:

Executive #1: Let's make a music video for training! Executive #2: Great idea. It'll be like a jingle people will remember! Executive #3: Cool. Let's make sure this video covers 85,000 things people need to remember about hot drinks. Executive #4: There are 85,000 things we need to teach people about hot drinks?!? Executive #3: Absolutely. We can't leave one detail out or legal will never approve it. Lawyer #1: Word. Executive #3: Oh, and that whole idea of a catchy melody? Yeah, lose that. We can't have that kind of stuff get in the way of our legal-approved content.

We shared this video in our Slack workspace, and here's how the reactions went:

Eric [9:36 AM] Oh wow....That is a great example of creative gone wrong.

Tiffany [9:41 AM] lol creative gone wrong? I actually really liked it. probably because I thought it was hilarious but I think it's awesome. I learned so much. 30 minutes and then the coffee is gone. Tea bag on the top. Fill to line. It's hot. I got what I needed to know and I still have a smile on my face.

Eric [9:48 AM] I'm a cynic. 😉

Tim [10:37 AM] Really catchy tune! By the third chorus I was singing along. Now I know why I'll never drink coffee from wendy's! Thanks Dave!

Chad [10:38 AM] Because they serve SANKA?! I'm not particular about coffee, but I probably wouldn't even drink that

Josh [10:38 AM] is sanka still a thing??

Tiffany [10:55 AM] I don't know what Sanka is

*sigh* Millennials, amirite? I'll leave our bit of commentary with one final note from our resident cynic, Eric, who has some great insights:

If you look past the dated nature of the video there are some good concepts here from a learning perspective: you're giving the learner visuals, demonstrating the desired behavior you want replicated, and supplementing it with an audio piece that is way more interesting than a typical instructional video. Those are all great things that should be applauded.

My concern, however, is what I've seen time and time again from corporate training managers. They cram too much stuff in a container that's not built to hold it all. In this case, when you use music to train I think it's best to keep it simple and catchy. While parts of this video are indeed catchy, there's a lack of focus on the "one thing" you want people to learn.

There's so much procedure across a bunch of different hot drinks. If they were ever going to resurrect this, I'd make one video per hot drink (different types of music, melody, etc. for each) and package all of them in a playlist or something like that. This way, each piece of content is unique, focused, simple, and distinctive.

We hope you enjoyed this first installment of our Retro Training Review. We'll be back in 2019 with another one you're sure to love + hate!


Words by Joshua Schlag, Head of Marketing at Mindspace


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