If you haven’t seen any of the recent Arby’s social media posts, then you are either not in their target market, or you are living under a rock. Several companies and brands have been trying to target a massive geek and pop culture through social media and branding efforts like sponsoring eSports tournaments or eSports teams. The problem is, one company has set the bar quite high for others, and it’s obvious when a brand falls short of that bar. Arby’s has been sweeping the social media landscape with genius pop culture references and gaming culture. Typically, these posts involve the construction of pop culture references by using Arby’s sauce as a drawing medium or cutting and constructing the Arby’s sandwich boxes into objects.
For example, Arby’s posted this picture on Facebook with the simple tagline “It’s also a gun.” To the general public, this post would make absolutely no sense. To its target market, Arby’s hit one of the biggest home runs ever. This picture references RWBY, a 3D anime-esque series created for Rooster Teeth. Obscure to most, endearing for the rest. This post received 82,000 likes, 24,000 shares. Think about that, the number of shares to likes is absolutely absurd. And Arby’s lets the conversation flow and lets their fans do the work for them. The comments on this post are booming with quotes from RWBY, kudos on how fantastic the ad is, and more importantly, people saying things like “Okay, okay. You Win. I know where I’m going the next time I get fast food”.
Think that post is an anomaly? Here’s another showcasing the construction of Wonder Woman. 28,000 likes, 3,000 shares. One of the highest rated comments is “I really hope the social media manager for Arby’s gets paid high six figures. They’re easily the best in the business at their job”.
How about one of my favorites, referencing Elder Scrolls. 108,000 likes, 22.4K shares. The 2nd highest comment “I’ve said this before, whatever Arby’s is paying their social media marketing team… it isn’t enough!”
The bar is so set so insanely high for gaming and pop culture by Arby’s that other companies just can’t compete. Chipotle has been receiving a lot of backlash on social media posts they’re trying to create that deal with gaming. Their latest post had a PlayStation 4 controller and Chipotle around it. Unoriginal, uninspiring, and the public let them know about it. This came after they did the exact same thing months before with a Wii controller and tons of backlash on how unoriginal it is. It’s no longer acceptable to throw something simple together and hopes the pop culture references shine through. Here’s how you compete with Arby’s on pop culture though…big brands, listen up.
Go, for, the throat. Make this a competition. Utilize the popularity that Arby’s has created with the gaming community and build off of it. If you’re Chipotle, here’s a post that would work wonders for you. “Ok, @Arby’s, prepare to be our Aeris” and do EXACTLY what Arby’s does by creating a Sephiroth image out of your containers or a Sephiroth sword out of your containers. Make this a rivalry so that everyone wins. You can’t just place a controller near your food and say “ITS GAMING FOOD LUL EAT IT.” Several brands have created a social media rivalry, and it ends up great for both brands. If you’re listening Chipotle…I’m always available!
Here are several other great Arby’s posts that I had to bring some attention to.