10 Times Brands Inserted Themselves Into the Pop Culture Conversation

That time Red Lobster got in formation for Beyoncé.

Call me a conspiracy theorist but this is how I think Kanye West’s “McDonald’s Man” came to be. Frank Ocean was probably sitting in his lair of creativity texting his artsy friends asking them to lend their talents to his latest magical project. When he got to Kanye, Yeezy probably just said, “No big deal, I’ll write a poem.” Then Frank said, “Sounds good, but I need it by tomorrow.” Probably 26 seconds before he had to hand in his latest masterpiece to Ocean, Kanye wrote the first string of words that came to mind and McDonald’s Man was born. TBH, it most likely didn’t happen this way since there was enough time for a photog to set up a shoot with Mr. West, a Lambourghini and a drive through, but it’s still a valid theory since this is how Kanye seems to run his Twitter account.

Like all brands wanting to be in the middle of major pop culture moments, McDonald’s responded to Kanye’s poem. It was witty and corny and a bit shady, but how else do you respond to someone that talked about the McRib and its “artificial meat eyes”? Then, this happened.

While the McDonald’s and Kanye West saga love affair continues to unfold, take a look at 10 other times brands tried to capitalize on all things pop culture from Beyoncé to Damn Daniel.

  • 1 Arbys x Pharrell
    When Pharrell wore that hat (yes, that hat) to the 2014 Grammys, the internet was instantly set aflame with memes of the Album of the Year recipient. Hands down, the best roast “beef” came straight from none other than Arby’s, who’s comparison we still can’t get out of our heads.

  • 2 Clorox x Damn Daniel
    It was impossible to go on the internet in February 2016 without hearing that singsongy “Dammmmnnn” and each time you did, you knew that Daniel was back at it again. Clorox let us know that they, too, supported Daniel’s fresh to death white shoes with this super clever tweet.

  • 3 Red Lobster x Beyoncé
    Before we were gulping down lemonade, Beyoncé called on us to get in “Formation.” We didn’t know what for, but we knew it had to do with baes and Red Lobster. The internet sat on edge waiting for a “Formation” deal or something. All we got was this tweet, like, 8 hours after the video dropped.

  • 4 Hamburger Helper x Beyoncé
    First of all, who knew Hamburger Helper had a Twitter? And second, why do they have a Twitter? Regardless, all that matters is that their Twitter account made a Beyoncé reference, and we’re here for anything that supports Queen Bey.

  • 5 Delta x Baby Got Back
    Nicki Minaj isn’t the only one familiar with Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” Not only did Delta make this clever reference and prove that whoever runs their Twitter account got bars, Cosmo even tweeted, “We would never call you fat. Cosmo ain’t down with that.”

  • 6 DiGiorno x The Sound of Music Live
    Another brand that apparently has bars is DiGiornio. For some reason the non-delivery pizza connoisseurs decided to live-tweet NBC’s The Sound of Music Live and managed to semi-successfully turn everyone’s kindergarten music class scales into a pizza song – well kinda.

  • 7 Cascade x Mean Girls
    We’re not really sure why dishwashing liquid needs to tweet, but to each his own. Cascade does get a single cool point for this strange Mean Girls-themed exchange with a follower.

  • 8 Taco Bell x Mean Girls
    Mean Girls is easily the most quotable movie of all time, so it makes sense it shows up on this list twice. When a Twitter account devoted to said quoting mine tweeted out Karen’s asking of Regina if she wanted Taco Bell (despite Regina’s all carb diet), Taco Bell’s Twitter was quick to hilariously respond.

  • 9 Prince x FourLoko
    Prince was an icon and everyone knew it. When he passed away in April amazing tributes were popping up all over the place from all kinds of people including FourLoko, who poured a little out for the homie out of respect.

  • 10 Pepsi x Harlem Shake
    The most annoying viral video/trend/dance of 2013 was the Harlem Shake. In addition to the fact that it’s annoying AF and not the original Harlem Shake (see every 90s and early 2000s rap video for reference), every corporation that tried to use it as a cool marketing technique failed. Including this video by Pepsi, in which bottles and cans of soda do the the Harlem shake.