- Burger King has ramped up a spicy chicken nuggets campaign that takes direct aim at Wendy's by pushing Promoted Tweets that repurpose posts from people who were upset about Wendy's dropping the menu item earlier this year, as reported by Business Insider. The tweets include lines like, "Wendy's got rid of spicy chicken nuggets therefore Wendy's is cancelled."
- Burger King first started ribbing its rival last week when it introduced its own Spicy Chicken Nuggets and gave a free 10-piece box away to anyone in Miami, Los Angeles or New York City with a valid government ID proving their first name was Wendy. Wendy's claims it axed the menu item over a lack of demand, but Burger King believes its own customers want spicy nuggets based on the popularity of its Fiery Chicken Fries, which were also released on a limited basis after testing.
- The two brands have a history of sparring via their marketing, per Business Insider, such as through an early 2016 promotion where Burger King offered a "5 for $4" meal in a one-up move against Wendy's "4 for $4."
Burger King is making a clear bid to try and trump Wendy's as the fast food ruler of Twitter. Wendy's has slowly built up its reputation on the platform in recent years by taking on a snarky and sometimes confrontational tone with users, critics and other brands. It's not shied away from directly taking shots at competitors like McDonald's or Burger King, but Burger King is taking advantage of consumer outrage to flip the tables in its favor.
The latest bit of spicy nuggs skewering shows how brands can quickly and smartly turn around social media campaigns tailored to the platform they're being run on. Repurposing irate Wendy's fans' tweets for paid advertisements on Twitter probably required minimal effort and cost but might have a high impact and drive more interest toward Burger King's new menu item.
From a marketer's perspective, it continues to be interesting to see how these major national brands interact with their rivals on social media. On platforms like Twitter, where the tone is often more conversational and casual than traditional channels, it can be hard to tell when a line's been crossed. Both Wendy's and Burger King, with their current and past sparrings, have shown a willingness to be petty in a way that might ultimately come off as off-putting to consumers. In any case, it's an effective method for grabbing attention.