#NuggsForCarter – The Power of Brand Advocates + Social

10 Apr #NuggsForCarter – The Power of Brand Advocates + Social


It’s hard to keep up on all the trends on our social media platforms. Between the White House, new Marvel movies every other weekend and the random social holidays (#NationalColoringBookDay), it’s always interesting to see when something unexpected jumps to the top of the trends. This weekend, it was #NuggsForCarter.

Here’s the gist to this hashtag. Carter Wilkerson, a Nevada 16-year-old, is apparently in love with Wendy’s Nuggets. So, he asked them a simple question on Twitter that got a not-so-simple challenge from Wendy’s.

Yep, 18 million. With 313 million monthly Twitter users, how hard could it be to get 18 million to retweet (RT) Carter’s tweet? Well, seemingly impossible considering the most RT’d tweet of all time was Ellen’s famous selfie with Bradley Cooper and a dozen other celebrities at the 2014 Academy Awards. It was “only” RT’d 3.2 million times. And that’s Ellen!

Carter got to work putting out a call for help with a simple “HELP ME PLEASE A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.” With that, the #NuggsForCarter hashtag and trend was born, but it went much farther than Carter or Wendy’s could have dreamed.

So, where is he on his epic journey to 18 million? As of the posting of this, he’s just crested 2.3 million RTs. But, for a teenager who had 150 followers last week and now has more than 32K, he’s doing pretty dang well. He has had some help and some clever ideas for extending his reach.

From Aaron Paul

to Microsoft and Google (even competitors are cooperating here!)

Even T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere noticed Carter was using AT&T and offered Carter a nugget deal if he’d switch carriers. (h/t to this clever insertion. Bonus points to T-Mobile for offering Wendy’s nuggets to existing and new customers)

Things jumped to politics when Nevada’s governor chimed in and tagged several other governors to support Carter’s cause.

Then USA Today did a story.

Carter is racking up some serious RTs and, along the way, showcasing how powerful a brand advocate with an iPhone and Twitter account can be. While this is incredible and I’m sure Carter is on cloud nine, I can’t help but think about what this must be like for the social/marketing team at Wendy’s. You couldn’t plan something this good. In fact, I’d bet it wouldn’t have gotten as much traction if it had been a planned campaign. This is earned media in the age of social at its finest. It’s a perfect case study for how gaining customer loyalty PLUS having a creative social team work hand-in-hand to promote a brand.

Here are my take-aways:

1. Work tirelessly to gain the affection of your customers. Treat them well, and they’ll treat you well. Customer care is the best type of PR and leads to word-of-mouth advocacy with friends, family and on social media.

2. Double down on your social team and efforts. A successful company is one that meets its customers where they are. It’s 2017 folks, if you’re not meeting your customers on social media, you’re missing them. Social media is an incredibly affordable platform to get right into the smart phones of your customers… you know, those smart phones that hang out in a pocket not too far from that other pocket with the wallet in it 😉 Hire savvy/creative talent, plug into a time-saving dashboard and get social.
Sidenote: while fun and cheeky, is 18 million reasonable? In all likelihood, Wendy’s will still honor the request even if he only gets a fraction of the retweets.

3. It’s not enough to toot your own horn and blast info outward. To be successful, brands must be listening all the time and be ready to respond (appropriately) to the chatter out on the interwebs. Wendy’s is doing a great job of staying engaged and, as necessary, poking the Twitter bear a bit to keep things going.

4. Take chances and play the social game how it is intended. All too often, brands play it safe. Making a splash on social means doing more than dipping your toes in the pool. Wendy’s could easily have just ignored this tweet, just RT’d it with a a simple “we love our fans” remark, or had an auto-response bot tackle it (US Airways hopefully ruined that strategy…). Instead, Wendy’s took a chance and responded. The key is to always have a well-trained social team and a process to avoid those Pepsi-esque creative ideas from going live.

Now, let’s sit back with a bucket of nuggets and see if Carter hits his 18 million goal.


Kevin Hartman

Kevin is an Account Manager at LT Public Relations responsible for supporting the communications of several clients, primarily within the financial sector. When he's not blogging about media relations or social media trends, Kevin enjoys eating his way through Portland and spending time with his wife and three kids.

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