The rivalry between fast food giants has taken on a strange political twist: KFC has aped Donald Trump’s message to Kim Jong-un, in an attempt to feud with McDonald’s.
It is the latest in a growing history of retailers, particularly fast food chains, attempting to appeal to people on social media, particularly through pithy tweets.
On Wednesday KFC’s UK and Ireland Twitter account posted a parody tweet boasting its burger was larger than those at McDonald’s.
“McDonald’s leader Ronald just stated he has a ‘burger on his desk at all times’,” the post read.
“Will someone from his big shoed, red nosed regime inform him that I too have a burger on my desk, but mine is a box meal which is bigger and more powerful than his, and mine has gravy! #nuclearbutton”
The post mirrored the style of a tweet by the US president aimed at North Korea’s leader, who claimed the nuclear button was always on his desk.
Trump warned Kim his button to launch a nuclear assault was “a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works!”
- Does Donald Trump have a nuclear button?
So far, the battle of the corporate tweets has been one-sided, with no response from McDonald’s. However, KFC’s tweet was shared more than 180,000 times and liked more than 475,000 times within 48 hours.
One Twitter user posted: “This is amazing.”
“I’m following you guys because of this tweet,” said another.
Other responses were critical of the restaurant chain’s gag.
“What stage of capitalism is it where brands imitate threats of nuclear war to sell fried chicken,” posted one Twitter user.
Another simply read: “Cluckbait”.
Other Twitter users were keen to hear from KFC’s competitors: “I hope my @BurgerKing will chime in to bridge this partisan divide,” read a response to the KFC tweet.
“Has Wendy’s responded to this yet?” another commenter asked.
As yet, US burger chain Wendy’s has not weighed in on the conversation, but have gained a reputation on social media for engaging with their customers and critics, including jibes at McDonald’s, and, in 2017, were part of the most retweeted post of the year.
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It is not the first time KFC have gained notoriety on social media, either. In October 2017, eagle-eyed Mike Edgett highlighted the 11 people followed by KFC in a tweet which has since been retweeted more than 300,000 times.
So delighted were KFC by the response it sent Mike Edgett a painting of him being carried by the Colonel himself.
In recent years, corporate tweets have became more than just posts advertising products and deals.
In August supermarket giants Aldi and Lidl had a good-humoured twitter spat which was shared almost 3,000 times when one social media user asked which was the better supermarket.
The two supermarkets responded using memes and gifs including a dance-off challenge.
But there have also been countless examples of failed attempts at social media marketing.
In October, Saudi Arabian Twitter users called for a boycott of Pizza Hut after the restaurant’s Twitter account published an advertisement which appeared to mock people with a speech impediment.
The advert began with the hashtag #Global_Day_of_Stammering and introduced an offer for pizza, but punctuated the accompanying message with repeated letters and syllables to mimic a stammer or stutter.
Pizza Hut deleted the offending tweet and apologised but by then the hashtag #I_am_boycotting_Pizza_Hut had been used more than 48,000 times.
In December 2017, Poundland posted its Christmas advertising campaign on Twitter showing images of a toy elf in suggestive poses.
The campaign divided opinion on Twitter, with some praising it as “brilliant”, others damning it as “outdated misogyny”.
While perhaps not as damaging, but returning to fast food, Google promised to amend its burger emoji after people were confounded by where the slice of cheese was placed.