Reporter's Notebook

Brands toss #Sharknado chum into social-media sea


"Sharknado" sends social media into feeding frenzy, and restaurant brands stand ready to draw Tweeters into their net.


When the Syfy cable television network’s airing of “Sharknado” Thursday night sent Twitter into an F6-category phenomenon that endured well into Friday, restaurant brands were poised to take the social-media bait.

The B-movie-quality made-for-TV “Sharknado,” similar in vein to an earlier “Sharktopus,” generated nearly 5,000 tweets a minute at its peak and more than 387,000 mentions in less than 24 hours.

The #Sharknado hashtag and movie were something of fish stories, addressing what would happen in the scientifically unproven case of a tornado spinning hundreds of sharks into Los Angeles.

Restaurant social-media managers, as they are wont to do, jumped on the meme quickly and efficiently to draw their followers into the retweet net. And they did that with a hefty helping of what we might call #Snarknado.

McDonald’s offered up the image of burgers spinning around a twister and provided the commentary of: “First there were sharks, now there is ‘BigMacnado’!!”

Whataburger gave the soothing advice of: “In the event of a #SharkNado Whataburger will remain open for anyone seeking refuge.” (See some of the examples below.)

The frightful – in a good way – meme even extended across international borders, with Taco Bell Canada postulating: “Can you imagine a #TacoNado? It would be the most delicious and scary weather occurrence ever.”

The social-media mentions may have been disproportionate to the actual number of “Sharknado” viewers. Syfy said about 1.37 million actually watched the show.

That means restaurant Twitter social-media managers still have something bigger to reel in the next time there is, in the terms of one Tweeter, another awe-inspiring “act of Cod.”

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Reporter's Notebook is NRN's newsroom blog, where our editors give their points of view on news happening in the restaurant business.


Lisa Jennings

Follow @livetodineout From the Los Angeles office, Lisa Jennings covers companies based in the West, including California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Alaska and...

Ron Ruggless

Ron Ruggless covers the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. He joined Nation's Restaurant News in 1992 after working 10 years in...
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