Brand Personas: The Evolution of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing changing

The year is 1986, you and your family gather around the television, just like you do every Friday when your father gets home from work. As the laugh track fades away a commercial break comes on between segments of Family Ties. While your mother goes to the kitchen to refill the popcorn, an advertisement begins with a familiar set of Golden Arches. It features smiling children consuming cheeseburgers and playing with toys from a friendly little box called a “Happy Meal.” When your mom returns, popcorn in hand, you beg her to take you to McDonald’s tomorrow. What mother could ever refuse the puppy dog eyes you are giving her? In the blink of an eye, your family has fallen victim to the golden age of television advertising.

35 years have passed since the blissful days of family TV bonding, and now Millennials have managed to ruin television marketing just like they ruin everything. It’s 2021, who has time to sit around and watch television all day? Not to mention with the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, which offer countless series and movies ad-free, cable television is nearly extinct. To appeal to the younger generations, multi-million dollar corporations had to redesign their marketing strategies. What better way to advertise to “those dang kids who are always on their phones,” than through social media?

Wendy’s tweet

In January of 2017, Wendy’s Twitter took the world by storm with their new social media marketing strategy. Rather than posting image or video advertisements, they created an online person for the brand in order to gain popularity. This new personification of Wendy’s reinvented the fast food marketing industry by roasting both fellow corporations and consumers.

Tweets like the one featured above roasting McDonald’s cemented Wendy’s as the roast queen of Twitter. Wendy’s has the most popular fast food account on Twitter with 3.8 million followers, their roasts allowed them to gain both a large following and more sales in store. With Wendy’s skyrocketing popularity fast food companies across Twitter scrambled to create their own unique online personas in order to increase the success of their social media marketing. 

While some of these personas have even surpassed Wendy’s in their appeal to younger audiences, the majority of them are cringy and awkward. Although I find the marketing strategy very interesting, I personally think the majority of brands fail to create an appealing persona. In the next section of this article, I will be analyzing Fast Food companies’ social media presence and assessing their #cringefactor.


How Cringe is each Corporate Person?

Wendy’s Twitter persona

Wendy’s the Hot Cheeto Girl

Denny’s tweet

Weird Boy Denny’s

  • They’re quirky
  • None of their tweets make sense
  • Use Lol random humor that was popular with millennials in the early 2010s
  • The jokes are decent but pretty outdated


Chad Colonel Sanders 

Chad Colonel Sanders


Panera Soft Girl + Corporate Wokeism

Panera’s Twitter
  • Very basic, uses too many emojis, probably likes pumpkin spice lattes
  • Focuses very heavily on their companies charity and green initiatives
  • By being “woke” as a corporation they can relate to the younger generation through more progressive beliefs rather than humor like other brands
  • Corporate wokeism is one of the worst forms of social media marketing as it attempts to emotionally manipulate consumers to forgot the atrocities committed by large corporations 

    Chick-fil-A’s Twitter

Christian Chick Fil A

  • Half of their tweets are about not being open on Sundays
  • Their Christian values appeal to an older age demographic than most social media marketing campaigns
  • They fail to keep up with the times which causes them to lose popularity among teens

Burger King is a tiktoker now?????

Burger King
  • Burger King is using tik tok trends in their new advertising
  • Burger King tiktok commercial
  • High key cringe
  • Unsuccessful use of social media for marketing
    • Tiktok trends and dances do not maintain their popularity after a couple of weeks
    • This causes the Burger King commercials to come off as outdated
  • Rest in peace burger king
  • CRINGE FACTOR: 11/10

It’s important to remember that these corporate entities are not our friends. Even the funniest, and most relatable fast food personas are still trying to sell us a product. It’s especially vital that we aren’t fooled by corporate wokeism. The same companies that are donating to charities and saving the planet are also underpaying their employees and leaving large carbon footprints. Social Media advertising may seem like a horse of a different color, but marketing is still marketing whether it’s Golden Arches on your television screen, or I Love You Colonel Sanders dating sim on your gaming PC.