We’re not saying it’s easy to run a corporate fast food social media account. As the chicken sandwich wars proved, there’s big business to be made from companies arguing over buns on Twitter—roughly $23 million worth. We’ve arrived at the expectation that these accounts have cohesive personalities, respond with timely memes, engage with the Twitter trend du jour, and throw shade without being a dick. It’s sometimes that latter one that proves most challenging, though.
And now, restaurant brands’ shade-throwing, side-smirking, thirsty-to-be-relevant social media is cannibalizing itself. Let what happened on the Buffalo Wild Wing’s corporate account Sunday be a lesson to all the other brands out there—it’s all fun and games until you’re screwing over your own franchisees. Here’s what the main Buffalo Wild Wings account tweeted after New Orleans Saints heartbreaker of a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, a game that saw not only an injury for quarterback Drew Brees, but whose bad officiating calls brought flashbacks to last year’s NFC Championship loss to the Rams:
For context, Saints fans sued to the Louisiana Supreme Court after a bad call in that NFC Championship game last year, to no avail.
Squeaking along on a social media hamster wheel that demands relevancy and cleverness, the BWW account fired off that Saints-poking tweet Sunday—without giving a thought to the franchisee who owns three BWW locations near New Orleans.
NOLA.com spoke to the franchisee, Amit Patel, who is described as “flummoxed”: “I’m a nine-year Saints season ticket holder. That tweet in no way reflects our feelings. We are locally owned, we’re part of the Who Dat Nation, we love the Saints. … [It’s like] when someone in your family says something that doesn’t reflect what you’re all about.” He’s no doubt bewildered by the replies to the BWW tweet from Saints fans vowing to boycott the chain.
We hope Patel at least gets a response from BWW corporate, but really, this type of self-own is inevitable in an age when corporate social media needs to have an opinion on every news story, be it sports, music, politics, TV, or movies. No one wants to follow a BWW account that tweets: “Great game, everyone played well. Good job to both teams!”—except that’s exactly the kind of subversive wholesomeness that keeps followers on their toes.