January 16th, 2018

Social media has become a highly valuable and important channel to brands since its inception, nothing new there. But because of its ability to target audiences both wide and narrow, it’s becoming the lead channel for a lot of businesses in increasing brand loyalty. Therefore, it is essential to create visually appealing content that captures audience’s attention and quickly. There are many brands who have already achieved this, proving that we can do great things with little means and a lot of imagination. Here are five of some of the most effective social media campaigns by fast food brands that we should all keep in mind.


Burger King – The Big Come Back

After 15 years of absence, this brand of the burger announced that it was to make its big come back to France, and with this come back they wanted to make a big impact. But how does one achieve such a feat I hear you say? Simple… in one single Facebook post. Burger King’s return would be in the hands of the French consumer – They posted, “We’ll open a restaurant in the city of the last person that comments on this post.” – utterly brilliant.

The post received over 1,300 comments on the first day and reached well over 65,000 people, all with no media support, highlighting the power and effect that one single post on social media can have. The King was certainly back with a big bang with minimal effort.


Wendy’s – The Good Answer

Taking care of a brand’s image on social media is a full-time job. This is something Wendy’s understood with their vigilance and attentiveness to their fans, but also to their competitor’s activity on social media.

Congratulations are in order to Wendy’s community manager for showing off dexterous social skills with two Twitter replies that went on to win Lions in Cannes for VML.

The first one was a reply to a tweeter (Carter Wilkerson) who queried how many retweets he needed for a year of free chicken nuggets. Wendy’s stepped up, although they presented a tough challenge of 18 million, they still took on the request from their fan. The post broke the record for most retweets, ousting Ellen DeGeneres for her famed Oscars selfie. It spawned the hashtag #nuggetsforcarter and whilst Carter earned himself incredible fame after the tweet caught fire, being retweeted by brands and celebrities with huge followings from all over the world, he pivoted his initial objective by getting Wendy’s to donate $100k to charity (The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption – A Charity in the name of Wendy’s founder).

Carter also got his nuggets though he was well short of the astronomical ask. Not only were Wendy’s able to build brand loyalty by having fun and speaking to their fans, they also managed to raise the profile of their charity.

The second reply was that to fast food giant McDonald’s. Whilst McDonald’s posted about the (pseudo) freshness of their beef quarter pounder burgers, Wendy’s decided to wade in on the fresh versus frozen beef scandal. Not mincing their words, Wendy’s pointed out that this did not include all their burgers or all restaurants. Oh, snap!

The reply was reposted 73,315 times and liked 181,651 times.


Denny’s – “Overwhelming Existential Dread”

Denny’s, “Overwhelming Existential Dread” was an ingenious idea to spark the interest of people on twitter. In one post, the brand encouraged people to zoom in on one aspect of a photo, only to lead the consumer on a scavenger hunt for further hidden messages within the picture.

This worked as a lovely mechanic to attract the attention of users. But while you were expecting a message like “Eat more Grand Slam Breakfasts”, the punchline was different – “has this distracted you from overwhelming existential dread lol.” Not what you were expecting right? Quite deep coming from a pancake house!

But this humour has apparently been hugely appreciated. The post was retweeted more than 51,000 times and liked more than 65,000 times within its first eight hours. An example of how one engaging post with a bit of personality can make a difference.


KFC – Would you notice it?

KFC took telling their brand story to a whole new level. They said goodbye to the usual boring, corporate film and found a new, unique and clever way to convey what they’re known for, their secret recipe.

To many, who you follow on Twitter can be kind of bland, but one very vigilant twitter user noticed one subtle move that KFC and their agency Wieden+Kennedy had made. A subtle move that made who KFC followed a lot more interesting. KFC had hidden the secret of its chicken recipe in its followers and @edgette22 called this out.

KFC followed only eleven people on twitter and of those eleven people, five were spice girls and six were guys named Herb, which of course makes 11 herbs and spices. This was a tweet that went viral with 320,109 retweets and 712,139 likes.

A nice shot from KFC who kept the faith that someone would be curious enough to look at their followers and discover their amazing chicken recipe, showcasing that sometimes even the smallest details can make the biggest impact.


Taco Bell – The Blackout

On the launch of the new app, American fast food chain, Taco Bell decided to take a risk. They decided to delete all content on their social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr, all gone!

They had a blackout. Only a blank publication was left which said, ‘The new way to taco bell isn’t on snapchat [social media channel name], it’s #onlyintheapp.’ This one and only post has been tweeted, liked and shared thousands of times.

This was a risk, but a risk that paid off, the app had over 300,000 downloads in the first 48 hours alone. It quickly became the number one app downloaded on the App store and 75% of the Taco Bell restaurants received orders through the apps.

Successful? I think so!


Each and every one of these fast food campaigns was extremely successful – so what can we take from these to produce a campaign with the same results?

The most important thing we should remember from these examples is their simplicity, novelty, innovation and risk. You have to share something which generates excitement for the user. Repetition of branded content will only go so far in creating an impact.

A campaign for a brand should ignite emotion – surprise and delight that can catch the attention and create engagement. This is the case even more so in social media because this is the user’s space. It needs to be treated with respect, responsibility but also become a talking point. To make people want to be part of the conversation or for them to let you be part of theirs.

It may seems obvious but in social, it’s really about driving one word and always has been… ‘share’.