When I consider standout content marketing campaigns, industries that spring to mind first include tech, fashion, and health. Fast food content marketing has generally not stood out, at least not for me. But that’s changing—perhaps because fast food restaurants are changing. They have to in order to remain competitive in a world convinced that healthy, honest, and real will win the day.
Transparency in the food and restaurant industry is becoming more commonplace as diners want to know where their food is coming from, what’s in it, and how it’s made. Most restaurants show transparency through visible ingredient lists, blogs devoted to sustainability, or a lofty mission statement.
However, McDonald’s Canada’s “Our Food, Your Questions” blog takes transparency to the next level. Instead of the standard Frequently Asked Questions, “Our Food, Your Questions” invites people to ask anything about McDonald’s food. And they will post the question and respond directly for everyone to see.
Over 16,000 questions have been submitted, and around two-thirds of them have been answered. They don’t shy away from difficult questions, either, as shown by this question about the lives of the chickens raised for their food. This campaign is successful for three major reasons:
Denny’s, the 24-hour diner chain based in the U.S. (but here in Canada too) is chiefly known as a place to go at 3 A.M. after you’ve made poor life choices. You also know and have likely ordered a dish called “Moons Over My Hammy.”
Denny’s is also being increasingly recognized for their social media quirk. Unlike Denny’s fairly unremarkable website, their Tumblr page and Twitter feed are memorable, to say the least. Here, the brand embraces the slightly oddball, ironic and fromage-loving humour that hits the mark with a younger demographic.
The best thing is that the brand rarely drops the joke in favour of a sales pitch. Sure, they post about pancakes, but they do it while mocking a 70’s ad for the board game Connect Four.
They’re also well aware that their restaurants are occasionally seen as a haven by the drunk and the despondent, and they offer their food as a replacement for Tide Pods. This attitude and self-aware humour has sparked an impressive following across social media and the internet.
With over 450,000 Twitter followers and hundreds of thousands of likes and reblogs across Tumblr, their social engagement is impressive. They understand their audience. While on more youthful platforms, they party with the kids, but on Facebook, they dial it back for the older crowd.
When Twitter first launched in 2006, no one expected its Mean Girl to be Wendy’s.
Known for savagely roasting competitors and consumers alike, Wendy’s Twitter account has nearly 2.4 million followers. Its social media engagement is even more impressive, as evidenced by the #NuggsForCarter campaign, in which a young man tweeted at Wendy’s asking how many retweets he’d need to get free nuggets for life. He didn’t reach the goal Wendy’s set (18 million), but his tweet did become the most retweeted post of all time.
Wendy’s is, though, best known for their sass. A favourite target is McDonald’s, and Wendy’s is always eager to pounce on this competitor’s mistakes, such as this Black Friday slip-up.
And it’s not just competitors receiving harsh treatment; it’s customers too—especially when they make the ‘wrong choices’. Offering relationship advice to people saying they got Burger King gift cards, for example, Wendy’s does not hold back. And it’s working.
What do you think? Is there another restaurant or brand who you think is killing it at content marketing? I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions!