Is Wendy's about to break a Twitter record?

Dive Brief:

  • Twitter user Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) had a simple question for Wendy's: "Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?" In turn, the brand responded with a demand for 18 million. Wilkerson’s follow-up tweet — reading, "HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS" — now might be on track to break a big Twitter record, according to Ad Age.   
  • Wilkerson's tweet started picking up traction thanks to the help of the hashtag #NuggsforCarter and other brands, including Microsoft, tweeting their support of Wilkerson's quest for a year's supply of nuggets. Wilkerson has also launched an online store selling #NuggsforCarter t-shirts for $25, with profits intended for charity.
  • At the time of this article's publication, Wilkerson has close to 3 million retweets — far from Wendy's goal, but close to the record-holding Oscar selfie from Ellen DeGeneres, which has 3.35 million. VML, the digital agency in charge of Wendy's community management, projects Wilkerson will break that number, per Ad Age.

Dive Insight:

At a time when a number of companies are weathering PR disasters on social media, Wendy's handling of the nuggets situation comes across as a refreshing, light-hearted change of pace and also shows the brand capitalizing on a moment that could've easily gotten lost in the digital ether.

The 18 million retweet goal probably won't be met — that would require a considerable portion of Twitter's entire active user base to get in on the action — but Wendy's has ensured it's staying at the top of the social conversation for the time being, and in a positive way that raises awareness for a menu item.  

Wendy's effort also demonstrates the real value Twitter retains for brands engaging in direct discussions, both on the smaller, one-to-one consumer level and for viral trends.

This isn't the first time Wendy's Twitter profile has made media headlines lately, either: In January, the brand put a user on blast for questioning the authenticity of its "fresh never frozen" beef claims, and similarly ribbed McDonald's for only recently pivoting toward more natural burger meat last month.  

It's a tricky Twitter tightrope to walk, as Wendy's is being unusually direct and even confrontational with consumers and competitors, but the brand consistently handles itself with the kind of finesse and good humor that encourages other companies like Microsoft to join in on the fun.  

Here's to making #NuggsforCarter happen.

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Filed Under: Social Media Trends Mobile
Top image credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr