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Wingstop Paid People to Be 'Walking Billboards' in Its New Promotional Sweatshirts

March 17, 2020 | Brendan Menapace

We often say people are “walking billboards” when they’re wearing promotional products. Sure, it’s a tad reductive, but it’s also pretty true. Wingstop knows this, and isn’t trying to put on any airs about what its new line of promotional sweatshirts are.

The best part is that these walking billboards might even get some cash for their time.

Wingstop gave away a limited amount of hooded sweatshirts that say things like “This is an ad for Wingstop” or “This is an ad for Wingstop delivery.” If you posted a selfie or video of you walking around in the shirt in public and tagged Wingstop on social media, the company would Venmo you $10.

Unfortunately, all 1,000 of the shirts got claimed fast. Based on when these two tweets came out, it looks like they sold out in a matter of hours.

This promotion gave users a genuine incentive aside from the free merchandise. Ten bucks is a drop in the bucket for a company like Wingstop to pay for advertising costs, and is much cheaper than hundreds of actual billboards.

This is funny, self-aware and actually serves its advertising purposes. The built-in hashtag for social media posts, with which people can post pics until April 30, creates even more brand visibility longevity, so Wingstop really nailed this one.

Not every fast food or fast food-adjacent brand hits the mark. Sometimes they try to be cool without a hint of self awareness, and it comes off as very glib and “how do you do, fellow kids?” Some go too hard with the self-awareness and it just seems cynical. To borrow a phrase from Goldilocks, this one from Wingstop is “just right.”

They cut to the chase, said “let’s see this for what this really is,” and made an ad. They told people it was an ad with just enough of a tongue-in-cheek blasé attitude. They even let people get in on it by paying them for what was clearly marked as advertising, in addition to them getting the sweatshirts for free.

That’s a win for everyone.

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