The brands have won. The most retweeted tweet of all time, as of about 9:30 a.m. ET on May 9, 2017, is a teenager’s viral attempt to get free chicken nuggets for a year from Wendy’s:
“HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS”
As of this writing, Wilkerson had 3,430,739 retweets and counting. That’s the most ever on the platform.
Wilkerson tweeted at Wendy’s in April to ask how many retweets he’d need to get free chicken nuggets for a year. The Wendy’s Twitter account replied “18 million,” and Wilkerson wrote a caps lock tweet to make it happen. It took off, earned celebrity endorsements, a round of international media attention, and a feeding frenzy of brands trying to siphon off some of the free publicity Wendy’s was getting in all this.
Wilkerson is almost definitely not going to get 18 million retweets, at least not before the dying sun expands into a red giant and destroys the Earth. He did beat Ellen DeGeneres’ record, set with a group “selfie” taken by Bradley Cooper at the 2014 Oscars. That tweet currently has 3,430,270 retweets, as of this writing. Thanks to DeGeneres’ own counter campaign to keep the record, that old tweet has also slowly been retweeted over the past several weeks – just not at the rate Wilkerson’s was.
Oh and he’s still getting the nuggets despite falling several million short of the original goal, according to Wendy’s tweet about Wilkerson’s new record. “That’s good for the nuggets,” the brand tweeted on Tuesday morning. Wendy’s is also giving $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation. He won’t, I’m guessing, get all the free stuff DeGeneres promised him if he lets her Twitter record stay intact.
Congratulations to the brands.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Abby Ohlheiser