Well-known brands’ social media experiments can help catapult them to the top of the food chain—or end up reaping significant backlash.
This week, fast food chain Wendy’s has been enjoying some viral fame for a series of saucy direct responses that began with a Twitter user inquiring about the company’s use of “fresh, never frozen beef.”
Our beef is way too cool to ever be frozen. 😎 pic.twitter.com/QuXECJtlq5— Wendy's (@Wendys) December 30, 2016
if you're having a bad day today, just remember that you didn't get dragged by a fast food company on twitter pic.twitter.com/gUSuHwZLQR— ΓRΛX@MAGFEST (@Fraxtil) January 2, 2017
Several clapbacks followed, earning the chain significant praise online.
@VickyRich31 At a farm a few miles away from where most get their circle cows.— Wendy's (@Wendys) January 3, 2017
All I want to do in my life is be like the person running the @Wendys twitter— PandaFire11 (@PandaFire11) January 4, 2017
But on Wednesday, Wendy’s tweeted, then deleted, an image of “Pepe the Frog”—a humanlike amphibian created by cartoonist Matt Furie also known as the "Sad Frog"—dressed as the Wendy’s girl. In September, the Anti-Defamation League declared Pepe to be a “hate symbol” after its likeness was frequently used online by alt-right and white nationalist groups to express racist and anti-Semitic messages.
The tweet, which was reportedly in response to Twitter user @MrRespek asking the account, "Got any memes?", was noticed by The Daily Beast before being deleted.
I love that it was in response to this pic.twitter.com/rCkrqsvZL1— Colin Jones (@colinjones) January 4, 2017
Many Twitter users were quick to denounce the chain's use of the cartoon meme.
I did *not* predict @Wendys would use its newfound social media fame to accidentally become the official burger of Nazis this quickly.— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) January 4, 2017
.@Wendys social media person got cocky after that refrigerator jab went viral and accidentally courted Nazis WHAT IS MODERN LIFE— Robin Hitchcock (@HitchDied) January 4, 2017
When reached by FoxNews.com, Heidi Schauer, a representative for Wendy's said that, "A community manager was unaware of the recent connotations associated with the Pepe memes, and to avoid any miscommunication or perceived intent, we decided to remove it."
The chain’s official Twitter account has been also been apologizing to users individually.