Influencer Casey Neistat rips Burger King for exploiting him

YouTube star Casey Neistat noticed last week that fast food monolith Burger King had liked three of his tweets from December 2010. As you’d expect, that made him curious, and he tweeted out his wonder at Burger King’s social media team.

That, apparently, was exactly what Burger King wanted.

Only later did Neistat realize that he had fallen into an advertising trap, and in a vlog published Tuesday, the YouTuber with more than 10 million subscribers described his feelings at being exploited.

“I don’t like to be taken advantage of,” Neistat said. “I don’t appreciate being manipulated. I especially don’t like to be made a sucker. But that’s exactly what Burger King … did to me.”

Here’s what happened. Last week, Burger King liked tweets from a number of social media influencers that were written in 2010, and that led a number of them to tweet about it.

As Complex wrote, that confusion (and the tweets that were sent as a result) were part of a Burger King campaign to promote that it was re-introducing funnel cake fries, which were also a thing in 2010. The plan: Get Twitter users to tweet about Burger King (even if they were tweets filled with confusion) and then profit.

Sure, maybe Burger King’s stunt wasn’t as snarky as something Wendy’s social media team would attempt, but it still seemed to be an effective strategy.

In the past, Burger King has trolled FCC Chairman Ajit Pai over net neutrality and has delivered a surprisingly emotional PSA on bullying. Influencers seemed too easy.

“Influencers, we leverage social media to make money,” Neistat said in his video. “Us influencers, we’re not brain surgeons or rocket scientists. We’re people of average intelligence. Because of that, it’s not nice to manipulate us into hawking your sugar-coated French fries.”

Though he joked Burger King took some of his integrity and dignity, Neistat also couldn’t help but be impressed.

“The thing that upsets me the most about all this is … just how genius it was,” he said. “We’re like the little mice going for that cheese in the trap and it snapped on us. … I’m [also] making this video right now. … I can’t stay mad at that kind of brilliance.”

Overall, Neistat didn’t really seem mad about the situation, but he wants something in return—particularly something charitable.

“I already gave you the value by blasting this tweet out,” he said. “Maybe you can come back to me with an idea of how Burger King can do something to help one of these great organizations that looks after kids who have needs. I’m kind of calling out Burger King here.”

Soon after his video was uploaded, Burger King responded with a Twitter follow.

At this point, it seems likely Burger King will follow through with Neistat’s request. After all, it’d be even more fantastic PR, and if anybody knows the value of good PR, it’s Burger King.

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.