Arby’s is crushing the social media game.
Don’t get me wrong, tons of fast food channels boast impressive food photography and mouthwatering video assets. If you’ve got fast food money, you kind of have to spend a fair chunk of it on taking dope product shots and spearheading videos that make your customer base salivate.
Arby’s, on the other hand, seems to focus on the pop culture humor, creativity, and hilarious captions. And by God, it’s working.
The fast food sandwich company has been around since the ‘60s, serving people for more than half a century. They’re probably best known for serving meaty sandwiches like brisket, corned beef, steak, roast beef, and chicken - with the occasional venison. Who would have guessed, as we indulge ourselves on some meaty menu offerings, that this same humble chain could be so adept at social media?
Let’s take a journey to the world of fast food content, in a vast ocean of brands and influencers, and see what the popular sandwich chain is cooking up best amongst them.
With the recent release of the wildly popular Nintendo Switch’s first game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, hardcore fans and casual gamers alike spoke nonstop of the newest installment in the Zelda series. While still a niche audience, Arby’s posted this creative photo of the game’s main character Link standing in the foreground before an open spit with a giant chunk of bone-in meat roasting over the flame.
The imagery is created with pristine cardboard cutouts, boasting the most intricate of details. In the background? Arby’s new Pork Belly sandwiches.
Arby’s took the one product they’re promoting and made it a secondary subject in the photograph. For the art. Pretty bold move. Let’s see how it played out.
The post garnered 66,000 likes, 14,000 shares, and 3,500 comments — the top two saying something positive or simply engaging with he brand rather than slinging shade.
Now I can’t speak for every fast food social media post since the beginning of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but I don’t see many fast food joints displaying such creativity. Looking at you, Carl’s Jr.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of creativity in the fast food space. But Arby’s just took it to another level.
Sure, places like Carl’s Jr. crush the food photography game with majestic photos (though their burgers IRL are a different story), but in a world where food porn has become so saturated, the jaded consumer tends to glance over yet “another burger shot.”
While we’re on the subject of creativity, it’s actually quite rare to find a solo food photo in Arby’s library of visual posts.
You may think that because Arby’s constant posting of pop-culture art and videos, it is some sort of overcompensation for dull food. But I think these food photos will disagree with that sentiment.
Not bad, right? The meaty burger reminds us of something we'd find in a greasy local bbq joint. Not a complaint at all.
Practically every photo either features some kind of unique artwork referencing popular culture or a whimsical stop motion video like this one:
Because each post clearly shows an abundance of quality, the channel doesn’t really post more than once a day. In fact, it could even be two or three before new content shows up. Viewers don’t like being bombarded with the same type of content 10-20 times in a single day.
Then, there’s engagement with the fanbase.
More often than not, the top comment of a fast food post will be a customer complaint.
Arby’s posts, however, always seem to garner some kind of acclaim when it comes to their feed. Each photo and video boasts thousands of comments. Most are positive. A rare sight, really, especially with all the fast food haters Facebook harbors.
So until the day other fast food joints start treating their customers like peers, rather than customers, Arby’s will continue to crush the social media space with their outlandish shorts and their innovative imagery.
Arby's doesn't look like they'll be relying on heavy celebrity endorsements, sexy models, a "cleaner" menu, or gimmicky beverage items anywhere in the near future. To paraphrase Nick Offerman's beloved Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation: It's meat on a bun with nothing. Doesn't get simpler than that.
The bar has been set for all you fast food companies out there. If you look up, you can see Arby’s leaping majestically over it.