Meet the man who broke Twitter with a chicken nugget tweet.
This story starts more than a month ago when Carter Wilkerson, a 16-year-old boy from Nevada, sent out a tongue-in-cheek tweet to his favourite fast food dinner, Wendy’s.
The tweet wasn’t anything particularly special. Wilkerson simply asked how many retweets he would need to get a year’s supply of free chicken nuggets, AKA the dream.
While many food companies may have ignored a tweet like this one, Wendy’s was quick to reply. Within a minute, they’d set Wilkerson a task of epic proportions. He’d need to get a whopping 18 million retweets to get his free nuggets.
“Consider it done,” replied Wilkerson, right away, before embarking on a mission to get as many retweets are possible. It wouldn’t be an easy feat, but nothing was going to stand between this man and his nuggets. Fair play.
He screenshotted the conversation between him and Wendy’s and tweeted it out with the simple line: “HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.”
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
That could have been the end of the story, but then something amazing happened. Yes, the tweet went viral, with more than one million people retweeting it in the first two days.
What’s more, some of the world’s biggest brands (Apple, Microsoft, and even Twitter itself) got involved with the retweeting action.
Because kale couldn’t have set the record for Retweets.
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 9, 2017
— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) April 7, 2017
“The industry has a word for this type of activity: ‘brand-jacking‘. While not hugely original, it can be successful. It shows the importance of reacting quickly to trending topics on social media,” John Harrington, of PRWeek, explained to the BBC.
“Most brands would probably have ignored the tweet or given a bland response, but by reacting with humour, Wendy’s has created a vast amount of positive exposure and goodwill.”
The tweet has now been retweeted more than 3.6 million times. While Wilkerson may not have quite hit the 18 million mark (yet), he has taken the number one spot for the most retweeted tweet ever. The record was previously set by Ellen DeGeneres who had her 2014 Oscar selfie retweeted 3.4 million times.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) 3 March 2014
Ellen being the good sport that she is, invited ‘Nugget Boy’ onto her show.
Nugget boy is here today. You know what they say… keep your friends close and your Twitter competition closer. pic.twitter.com/PA9Vfu2tY3
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 18, 2017
Even Hollywood superstars have taken time out of their busy schedules to acknowledge Wilkerson’s bold attempt to reach 18 million RTs.
It’s good to have dreams https://t.co/gY4WfBX45i
— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) April 8, 2017
What you all want to know, is did this man get his nuggs? Why, yes, of course he did! Whilst Wilkerson hasn’t yet reached 18 million RTs, Wendy’s did deliver on the free chicken. The food chain also donated $100,000 in Wilkerson’s name to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption; a charity which finds permanent homes for kids in the fostering system.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) May 9, 2017
And yes, Carter Wilkerson is now verified on Twitter.