A&W Features Its Employees in 'Anti-Celebrity' Meals With Store Signage, T-shirts and More
Are you getting Fast Food Celebrity Meal Fatigue?
Since McDonald's started giving musical artists their own branded meals and merchandise, it seems like every fast food restaurant has gotten in on the act. McDonald's has rolled out campaigns with everyone from BTS to Mariah Carey, while Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons have all done their own variations.
A&W, however, is bucking the trend by introducing the "anti-celebrity meal" campaign.
Instead of big stars, the brand is shining the spotlight instead on its own employees, showing that it values its own workers rather than celebrity endorsers. According to Business Insider, this is part of A&W's plan to attract talent in what has become an especially tough labor market for the service industry.
A&W is flipping the script on star-studded celebrity meals this week, launching its own version of the celebrity meal—this time shining the spotlight on its real-world workforce. https://t.co/o5QSNc4FjR pic.twitter.com/mOQSao5CEi
— Adweek (@Adweek) December 1, 2021
A&W recreated celebrity promo shots from other restaurants with real-life employees, and showcased special T-shirts and packaging for items like "The Hannah Meal."
— MediaPost (@MediaPost) December 7, 2021
— Marketing Dive (@marketingdive) December 2, 2021
In all 625 A&W locations, normal branding materials like signage, T-shirts and other pieces will be replaced with "anti-celebrity meal" products, according to The Takeout.
A&W has used branded apparel as a key component of its marketing before, with an ultra-expensive apparel drop back in October that included a $715 pair of boots. So far, it's unclear if the employee meal shirts or other merchandise will be available for purchase or if they're for employees only.
But, for A&W, this is about the bigger picture. If the company is struggling with employee retention, it needs to revamp its image as a place that cares about its employees and is a good place to work. It's interesting that it's using printed and promotional products as part of that effort.
From a business perspective, too, it's good for A&W to differentiate itself from the competition, especially at a time where there are so many brands pretty much playing the hits with e-commerce drops and celebrity endorsements (no matter how successful they are on the resale sites).