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This content is taken from the Purdue University's online course, Digital Media Analytics: Earned Media. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds On April 5th, 2017 a young man named Carter Wilkerson tweeted this, Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets? Other brands might have ignored him, but Wendy’s replied almost immediately, 18 Million. Carter’s tweet soon exploded, eventually racking up over three million retweets, and breaking a record previously held by Ellen DeGeneres. Although he didn’t reach the 18 million mark, he is still got the year of free chicken nuggets and now has over 100,000 followers. What Wendy’s got was even more valuable though, free publicity. The tweet was covered by all sorts of news outlets including BuzzFeed, Forbes, People and The New York Times. When Carter received the free nuggets, they got another round of coverage.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds And when the retweets record was broken nearly two years later, Wendy’s received yet another batch of articles mentioning the brand. Carter’s viral tweet is a prime example of earned media because unlike owned and paid media, promoted posts and traditional ads, Wendy’s didn’t have to spend a cent. And Wendy’s response is a master class in paying attention to and taking advantage of earned media. By the way, don’t think that Wendy’s competitors haven’t noticed their skilled social media approach. Wendy’s has long waged a cola war of their own against McDonald’s, trolling them on Twitter about their frozen burger patties and generating tons of earn media from users cheering them on.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds Eventually McDonald’s had no choice but to introduce their own fresh beef quarter pounders. In the course we’ll discuss the different you can listen to and take advantage of earn media for your brand with marketing campaigns, new products, and more. Not every piece of earned media will get three million retweets, but if you pay close enough attention, you can definitely turn it into something delicious.


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In the video above, we talk about how Wendy’s, an American fast food chain, has made the most of earned media.

Can you think of any other businesses or organisations that designed skilled social media approaches, taking advantage of earned media?

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This video is from the free online course:

Digital Media Analytics: Earned Media

Purdue University