Burger King's influencer stunt tricking Casey Neistat shows us that influencer marketing doesn’t have to be paid for … but at what cost?


Last week Burger King started scrolling through the Twitter timelines of social media influencers and liking various Tweets published over eight years ago.

The act seemed random. It piqued the interest of many of newly-liked influencers. Casey Neistat, a YouTuber with 11 million subscribers and 2.5 billion combined video views was one of those targeted by Burger King.

Neistat, who has worked on brand collaborations including Cannon, Samsung, Apple and Mercedez, posted a screenshot of these seemingly randomly-liked Tweets.

At the time of writing Neistat’s Tweet has been ReTweeted 240 times. It’s been liked 13,606 times and it has earned 496 comments.

Neistat wasn’t the only influencer to be targeted by the fast-food chain. Nadeshot a YouTuber, eGamer and owner of 100 Thieves, a lifestyle, apparel, and esports brand was also approached. 

As was American rapper, Kreayshawn.

The reason behind all of this sudden attention of near-decade all social media posts? Burger King has just relaunched Funnel Cake Fries, which were first introduced by the restaurant in, you guessed it, 2009.

Neistat lives a healthy lifestyle. His vlogs often show him jogging around New York. He eats healthily, too. He might admire the creative skill of the Burger King public relations team. He will not approve of unwittingly promoting Funnel Cake Fries - a french fried sweet to the taste and further topped with powdered sugar.

Burger King influencer relations stunt takeaways

Pun aside there are a couple of takeaways for influencer marketers here:

  1. Paying creators to develop and publish sponsored content to their channels is the status quo for consumer influencer marketing. Burger King has just shown this doesn’t need to be the case. Clever, inventive creative can produce shared media and become part of a larger conversation.
  2. Select the influencer with care. In the last half-an-hour, Casey Neistat has published a video to his YouTube channel titled: Exploited by Burger King. The video has so far generated 175,000 views and over 3,000 comments. A Tweet promoting his video already has 2,000 likes, 150 comments and 118 ReTweets.
  3. The word 'Influence' is often used interchangeably with the word 'advocacy'. But influence is not always positive. Influencers are change agents. They form or change opinions. They alter behaviours. As such influencers may hurt just as much as they may help a communicator’s cause. Advocates are supporters. Burger King might yet come to learn this difference.

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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