How a Pretzel Burger Is Bringing a Favorite '90s Band Back Into the Spotlight


Close your eyes. Make a wish.

Did you wish for pretzel buns? How about the return of one of your favorite '90s R&B groups? Thanks to Wendy's, if you wished for either, you're in luck.

Last week, the fast food burger chain teamed with Boyz II Men for #PretzelLoveSongs, a digital marketing campaign celebrating their recently revived pretzel bun. #PretzelLoveSongs began earlier this year when Wendy's solicited tweets from fans, promising that a select few would be incorporated into a burger-themed song from Boyz II Men. It's been big for the pretzel bun, but it's had a surprising unintended effect: 22 years after mega-hit "End of the Road," the popularity of Boyz II Men is surging.

The campaign was originally developed as a way to reach millennials, whom Wendy's believed could be targeted through '80s and '90s nostalgia (John Secada is also part of the campaign, though only for Hispanic audiences). #PretzelLoveSongs did its work for Wendy's — it drove a 60% Twitter lift for the brand. But the real winner is Boyz II Men. They saw a whopping 560% lift for the band on Twitter. The week of the song's release, the Boyz II Men Facebook fanbase grew by 40% and they ranked in the top 90th percentile of Vevo, Facebook and Twitter.

The song itself is far better than it should be. Nathan Morris' signature Isaac Hayes-esque baritone makes "It will get a home on your standard menu" sound sexy, while Wanya Morris almost has "Pretzel OMG so good" sounding like a coherent sentence. Shawn Stockman rounds things out by sing-narrating the "little hand sign that makes it okay" emoji, but of course, nothing compares to the three-part harmony breakdown on "Om nom nom."

While it might feel odd for Boyz II Men, who broke a number of Billboard records back in the '90s with colossal hits like "One Sweet Day" (ft. Mariah Carey), to stoop to the level of singing tweets for a fast food chain, let's not forget that corporate sponsorships are one of the best ways for artists to stay afloat in an unsteady music industry. And as long as Boyz II Men are singing again, who really cares what they're singing about, anyway?

"YES YES YES!" may never hold a candle to the stone cold R&B masterpiece that is "Motownphilly," but it's a smart move from a brand looking for cultural relevance in an irony-driven Internet age and a band seeking a revived following as they prepare to release a new album. So as it turns out, the best way to get things back to the way they used to be is through some passionate fan tweets and what is likely one hell of an endorsement deal. It's so hard to say goodbye, indeed.