“Anti-celebrity meals” at A&W take aim at McDonald’s, Popeyes

Rather than spotlight celebs, A&W is celebrating workers in a new campaign.

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Image: A&W

Celebrity fast food collabs are both profitable and inevitable and we’ve even predicted more to come in 2022, but burger chain A&W has decided to go against the grain in its most recent ad campaign. In an effort to attract and retain staff the brand has started advertising “anti-celebrity meals,” reports Business Insider.

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The campaign takes actual employees from A&W locations in Kentucky and juxtaposes them with celebrity promotional images from competitors. The brand says the advertisements shift the focus to the people who actually keep the business running. Many of A&W’s fast food competitors like McDonald’s and Popeyes have done celebrity collaborations that have blown up, so it’s a clever way to capitalize on the attention.

McDonald’s was notably the first to create a celebrity meal that made headlines. The Travis Scott meal, a $6 combo that included a Quarter Pounder with Cheese topped with shredded lettuce and bacon, medium fries with barbecue sauce on the side, and a Sprite, earned Scott about $20 million. Since then, McDonald’s continues to be the biggest success when it comes to celebrity meal promotions. The company has debuted collaborations with J Balvin, BTS, and Saweetie.

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A campaign like this definitely makes A&W stand out. Whether or not advertisement alone is enough to attract employees and keep them around is another story. Labor shortages in the service industry are real and companies across the country are focusing efforts on overcoming that challenge. All 625 A&W locations will replace the usual food-focused advertisements with signs, T-shirts, and other marketing items for this specific campaign.

Maybe an ad celebrating employees will make current staff feel a little appreciated and attract some new faces, but in the end money and benefits are what really matters. The campaign is a nice gesture, but hopefully A&W invests in the workers as well as the advertising.

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