At this point, we’ve learned anything can go viral – even a sandwich. This week we dive into Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s…interesting…sandwich, the campaign that came out of it, and one of the hottest trends in the fast food industry right now. Keep reading for a taste of what’s happening this week!
This week American race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. sent the internet into overdrive when he posted a picture making his favorite sandwich… bread, bananas and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.
Twitter immediately took off with disgusted responses to the odd pairing and videos of fans trying the sandwich. Hellmann’s got in on the fun too, after Earnhardt, a long time spokesperson for the brand, tagged them in his original photo. The sandwich also received attention on major news outlets including On Air With Ryan Seacrest, GQ Magazine, Fox Sports and more:
The response on social was so overwhelming that Dale Earnhardt Jr. decided to seize the moment and capitalize on all the attention the sandwich was receiving. He quickly launched a two-week donation campaign to raise money for Blessings in a Backpack, a non-profit that packs food for children who are at risk for going hungry over the weekend.
This is a great example of the power social media can have: a bizarre sandwich photo turned into a viral tweet, and now, a great cause. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (and probably his PR team) were able to act quickly to capture the momentum of the banana and mayonnaise sandwich and turn it into something important. It’s been exciting watching this unique campaign unfold this week, although we’re still hesitant to try this sandwich…
Trend: The Easier, the Better?
Many major fast food brands have started a trend: make it easier and easier for fans to order your food. People can already order online from almost anywhere using their smartphones, but now companies are working on developing ways to make this even simpler.
Domino’s Pizza has always been on the forefront of incorporating new technology with pizza ordering. This week the company announced “zero-click ordering”, promoted by the hashtag #ZeroClicksGiven, which allows users to simply open the app and their order will immediately start processing.
Fast food chain Sonic just announced a partnership with Instagram to create the first-ever fast food product specifically designed for Instagram. This campaign includes a new Square Shake product to be featured, a “shop now” button and geo-targeted ads to allow Coachella goers to order this shake in April. Not only will fans be able to order quickly with the “shop now” button, but Sonic will also deliver the Square Shakes free of charge.
Taco Bell announced the launch of Taco Bot, making it possible for companies to order Taco Bell from within popular messaging app Slack. Not only can users order from Taco Bot, but Taco Bot can answers questions, recommend items and is fully equipped with a personality in line with Taco Bell’s brand voice.
The brands that have a reputation to be fun, trendy and cool are the ones we often see continuing to experiment with new technologies and ways to connect with their customers.
PR Lesson Learned
What happened with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a banana + mayonnaise sandwich this week gets an A+ for how to act when content goes viral. It’s impossible to predict when something will become the next big thing. Sometimes the most simple, random videos or tweets take off and become internet phenomenons (case in point: Daniel and his Vans). When something does go viral though, it’s important to know what the next step should be. The banana and mayonnaise campaign is off to a successful start because they team behind it is acting fast and promoting well.
Earnhardt and his PR team acted quickly. In less than three days, the website for his charity campaign was up and running. The internet moves so quickly; what’s “hot” right now isn’t going to be news in a couple days. It’s important to waste no time when it comes to taking advantage of your 15 minutes of fame, and the banana and mayonnaise situation was handled perfectly.
Promote. Promote. Promote.
Earnhardt and Hellmann’s are doing a great job promoting the fundraiser on social media channels. Earnhardt is hard at work on Twitter this week retweeting and replying to people engaging with the charity and the sandwich, and sharing news articles about the campaign. Especially when something is time sensitive like this, it’s important to be strategic to get the news in front of as many people as possible.