Jan 8, 2016

The Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" Lady

In 1984 Wendy's ran with their  "Where's the Beef?" advertising campaign that took the country by storm.  The premise is as follows..  Three elderly gals are standing at a fast food counter examining a hamburger with a gigantic bun and tiny hamburger patty.  The first two ladies discuss its appearance by saying.. "It certainly is a big bun.. It's a very big bun.. It's a big fluffy bun. It's a very big fluffy.. bun."  It's at that point when the third woman angrily shouts "WHERE'S THE BEEF?"

The catchphrase was instantly embedded into American pop culture, and is still widely recognized to this day.   I personally remember seeing Where's the Beef? buttons, mugs, bumper stickers, shirts, hats, and posters.  Due to this advertising campaign alone, Wendy's sales jumped 31% worldwide in 1985.

The "Where's the Beef?" lady's name was Clara Peller, and for awhile in the 80s, she seemed to be everywhere.  I remember Peller starring in a slew of sequel commercials for Wendy's, all of which were subsequent hits as well.  But the ride didn't stop there.  Peller became a hot commodity due to her Wendy's fame.

Peller was on all manner of talk and news shows, commercials, a few movies, a Saturday Night Live bit, and even served as a guest ring announcer at WrestleMania-2!  My friends and I knew her by name, and if any of us experienced a "Clara sighting" on the TV or movies, we'd spread the word.  Below are some videos of Peller at her best..

Clara Peller scene in the movie "Moving Violations"

There was also a "Where's the Beef?" song that was sung by the late radio DJ Coyote McCloud.  Clara Pellers voice was simply edited into the song, with McCloud doing the lions share of work in regards to vocals.   I remember this song got quite a bit of airplay on radio stations for awhile, especially on morning shows.

Below is an NBC Interview with Clara Peller.  If you don't crack a smile while watching this.. there's something seriously wrong with you!  She's so loveable in this video, I can't stand it!

Clara with Dick Butkus!

Compilation of Clara Peller Media clips

It was a good run.  Sorta..

So in the end, this whole Where's the Beef? phenomenon lasted for about one year.  Peller got fired from Wendy's because she did a Prego commercial where she exclaimed "I found it" (in reference to the Beef of course).  I don't think it's a coincidence that Wendy's sales dropped after the Where's the Beef? campaign was ended.  Sales floundered for a couple years until founder Dave Thomas started starring in commercials for the chain.

But she didn't let the loss of her sweet Wendy's deal slow her down.  Check out some other products dear Clara lent her charm to..

Where's the Ben's?

No Meat? Praise Dog Food commercial

 Where's the News?

It's amazing how a catchphrase can grab hold and (go viral) as the kids today call it.  Heck.. who hasn't used "Who shot J.R.?"...  "I'll be back"... or "Whatchu Talkin' Bout Willis?"  I've got to admit that I've certainly worked all three phrases into daily conversation on occassion (a couple of them quite recently).

After her star burned bright for a very short time, Clara Pellers passed away in 1987 at the age of 85.    One thing is for sure however, she left an everlasting impression on pop culture, and is still making folks laugh to this very day.


  1. I remember Clara Peller!
    One rumor was- that she was very deaf, + that a person below the camera-shot had to yank on her skirt, in order to tell her when to yell, "Where's the Beef?" Ha!

    Off topic: Hi Darrin. I wanted to tell you about some topics you've mentioned, but blogspot-type accounts can often be very hard for me to figure out, + then log on to them.
    You have said, in your past blog articles, that you like Hasbro's GI Joe action figures. I have collected some. My advice is- collect the 12-inch ones, + their weapons, but for GI J. vehicles, collect the [about 4 inch] gi joes + their vehicles.
    I bought a Jeep + another veh. for my 12-in. figures, but they're BIG vehicles, + take up about 1/2 of an office desk. Yikes.

    Also, if you like movies/TV shows on [both] DVDs + VHS tapes, there are DVD players that have sloths for both DVD + VHS videos.
    I think Amazon [dot] com has these D + V players, for about $100 or so, if you're interested.

    Sorry about the LONG post. I just hate to leave a post, + leave something not explained, in it. Cheers, TR

    1. Funny little story about Clara. Thanks!! Also.. I haven't collected any more GI Joe stuff as of late. A little franchise called STAR WARS has capitalized my time.. money.. and collecting interest for the last year. LOL Also.. I really DO need to get a VCR. Although.. I'd love to get a setup that converts VHS to DVD as well.

  2. OK, I meant: SLOTS for the DVDs + VHS tapes, not [sloths] for the dvds + vhs tapes!
    That's it. No more late-night writing on the internet for Me. :D


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