Back in January of 2019, Burger King captured the attention of millions of people merely by liking a few tweets. Let’s look at how this story is a perfect embodiment of “work smarter, not harder.”
Casey Neistat, a widely famous YouTube vlogger, with over 10 million subscribers, was bewildered when Burger King’s twitter account started liking some of his old tweets, going all the way back to 2010. This had Casey adamant about finding out why this was happening. He tagged and tweeted about the whole affair at the food chain’s official account, but, to his dismay, there was no response. Neistat being one of the most well-liked personalities in the YouTube community, has one of the most active fan bases. Therefore, in an instant, this topic started trending all over the world.
A few hours later, numerous other celebrities and influential people including Justin Bieber, Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga and Nadeshot started tweeting about the same thing happening with their accounts. Burger King was liking tweets made by them in 2010, years before some of them were even famous. People started going crazy, conspiracy theories started popping up, hashtags were trending. Everyone was locked on to the topic.
Finally, a little after 6:00 pm on the same day, Burger King tweeted:
“Some things in 2010 are worth revisiting- like your old tweets. And funnel cake fries. Get them now for a limited time.”
Turns out, it was just a publicity stunt to market a dish that was coming back in stock after 9 years! People were amazed and angry at the same time. It took a while for people to understand what a mastermind marketing plan this was. The whole thing didn’t end there.
Casey Neistat wasn’t the least bit happy that he was used for this stunt without his knowledge of what was going on. He took to YouTube and uploaded a video to express his anger and demanded an apology from Burger King. He also asked them to donate to a charity because it was evident that the restaurant made a lot of money through this free publicity.
Burger King happily obliged and donated to the charity chosen by Neistat. This calmed the waters between the two and Neistat went on to upload another YouTube video updating people about the whole situation and thanking Burger King for donating to the charity. Further, he talks about how smart the move was, and that the guy who came up with this stunt should get a raise.
The food chain certainly played a master stroke by garnering an unprecedented amount of publicity just from liking tweets. In retrospect, at a cost of zero, they got attention from well over 3 million people. So, when they tweeted about their funnel fries being back in stock, they had the audience hooked onto the topic, most of whom didn’t even care about the food chain (the audience has been estimated to be around 3 million). Moreover, the two videos made by Casey got over 5 million views combined giving another set of audience for free. Further, by donating to charity, Burger King showed everyone that this wasn’t done with only a financial goal in mind, rather it was something of a fun experiment.
Taking all of this into account, the whole scenario cost Burger King a few minutes on Twitter and a humble donation to a charity, not much to lose when you think of it. And the impact was, Burger King schooled us on how to advertise something without spending a dime, and a showcase of the power social media holds these days.