Wendy’s Where’s the Beef? classic TV commercials were favorites among Baby boomers.
The commercial series was introduced in 1984 with the 82 year old manicurist and soon-to-be advertising icon, Clara Peller looking down on a hamburger from an implied competitor like McDonald’s or Burger King, opening the bun and shouting “Where’s the Beef?”. The scene took place at a fictional burger chain who’s slogan was Home of the Big Bun.
The original script actually said, Where’s all the beef, but Clara’s emphysema prevented her from saying the entire line, so it was shortened to the 3-word question that set Wendy’s apart.
The Where’s the Beef campaign helped increase Wendy’s sales by a whopping (no pun intended) 31%.
The phrase was a part of 1984 Democratic Presidential nominee, Walter Mondale against Gary Hart, referring to Mondale’s claim that Gary Hart lacked substance. The joke was that “If Mondale said the line like Clara, he would have been President.”
Where’s the beef became a hit song for Nashville DJ Coyote McCloud months after the Wendy’s commercial became popular.
Clara Peller was dismissed by Wendy’s after she did a television commercial for Campbell’s Prego spaghetti sauce in which she says, “I found it. I really found it.” Wendy’s claimed that the commercial implied that she found the beef somewhere that was not Wendy’s.
Mrs. Peller lost her job with Wendy’s in 1985 after she did a commercial for Campbell’s Prego spaghetti sauce proclaiming: ”I found it. I really found it.” The fast-food chain contended that the commercial ”infers that Clara found the beef at somewhere other than Wendy’s restaurants.”
Clara Peller, daughter of Russian immigrants was born in Chicago in 1902. She died on August 11, 1987, in Chicago, one week after her 85th birthday.