- Arby's created a special menu item after interactions between the restaurant chain and a creator on social video app TikTok started trending, per an announcement emailed to Mobile Marketer. Customers nationwide can order the "$5 Missing Menu Meal" by name or by saying "I have your TV" — a phrase inspired by the TikTok posts — until Nov. 20.
- Inspiration for the campaign started on Oct. 23, when the user @h1t1 posted a video that said he had bought a flat-screen TV for $25 and discovered it only displayed a special deal from an Arby's menu. The video has been viewed more than 16.2 million times.
- Arby's, which is owned by holding company Inspire Brands, responded to the trending video by engaging in @h1t1 in a conversation and duets, a TikTok feature that lets users collaborate on videos. The restaurant chain also "hacked" the Arby's menu screen to display @h1t1's original video and flying an airplane with a "We want our TV back" banner over his hometown, per the announcement.
Arby's stunt campaign for its "$5 Missing Menu Meal" show how brands can harness trending videos on TikTok into their marketing efforts. The fast food chain so far has received a favorable response from its interactions with @h1t1, including millions of views and thousands of positive comments such as, "It's official, Arby's has the best TikTok," and "Literally this makes me want to try Arby's."
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The restaurant added more than 200,000 followers on TikTok in the two weeks since the first video, helping to introduce the brand to a younger generation of consumers. Videos with the #Arbys hashtag gained more than 88 million views in two weeks, per information shared with Mobile Marketer.
Arby's is the latest brand to turn a trending video on TikTok into the centerpiece of a national campaign. Ocean Spray, the agricultural cooperative of cranberry and grapefruit growers, last month collaborated with TikTok creator Nathan Apodaca on a campaign inspired by a video clip he had posted a few weeks earlier. Apodaca filmed himself skateboarding near a highway while lip-syncing a Fleetwood Mac song and sipping from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry. After the video went viral on TikTok, Ocean Spray posted a video of the moment the brand gave Apodaca with a cranberry red truck to replace his broken-down car, and received favorable comments about its effort.
Meme-inspired marketing has become more popular on social media as brands seek to reach younger audiences by participating in social conversations and demonstrating their cultural relevance. Among the more recent examples, Bud Light Seltzer created a campaign centered on its search for a "chief meme officer" who would help to create viral posts on social media. Packaged foods brand Bush's Beans last year partnered with a teenaged Twitter creator who had developed a following with his @goodbeanjokes account to manage its social media efforts to connect with fans.