- Hollis Johnson
On social media, it’s easy to go from being on top of the world to being the laughingstock of the internet in just a matter of minutes.
Wendy’s experienced that fall from grace Wednesday after its Twitter account tweeted, then deleted, an image of Pepe the Frog dressed up as the Wendy’s mascot. Once a commonly used meme, Pepe was declared a “hate symbol” by the Anti-Defamation League in September after being frequently used online to express racist and anti-Semitic messages.
The Daily Beast’s Colin Jones noticed the tweet before Wendy’s deleted it.
Wendy’s just tweeted and deleted this pic.twitter.com/c7l1nzOKZr
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) January 4, 2017
The tweet was apparently in response to Twitter user MrRespek asking the account, “Got any memes?“
Wendy’s said the tweet wasn’t intended to offend anyone.
“Our community manager was unaware of the recent political connotations associated with Pepe memes, and it has since been removed,” Wendy’s social-media manager Amy Brown told Business Insider. “Since this used to be purely an innocuous meme, he had this fan content saved from a year or two ago.”
Just a day earlier, the Wendy’s Twitter account went viral after it roasted a Twitter user for questioning the company’s promise of “fresh, never frozen” beef.
The account continued to write humorous responses to people tweeting at the brand throughout the day. It was an example of the bizarre and beautiful interactions that are possible between brand accounts and random people on social media.
The Wendy’s Twitter account fires off dozens of tweets an hour. Like those of many fast-food chains, these are typically a mix of lighthearted responses to compliments, banter with customers seeking conversation, and earnest apologies for customer complaints.
In the lightning-fast world of social media, brands are forced to react quickly. Sometimes that pays off, as in the case of the refrigerator tweet from Wendy’s or the now-iconic comparison from Arby’s of its logo and Pharrell’s hat. But Wednesday’s posting showed how the reverse could also be true.