Brands never know what will spark a social-media phenomena. Red Robin and its agency KBS originally launched the cheeky monthlong campaign "Lose The Bun" to play off the trendy man-bun hairstyle.
After the holiday season, people tend to be especially health conscious as they embark on a new year. The chain wanted to raise awareness for its menu offering that allows diners to have any burger ‘Wedgie Style,’ which replaces the bun with lettuce.
To help jump-start this effort, Red Robin publicly issued a challenge to "This Is Us" actor Milo Ventimiglia to lose his man bun before he walks the red carpet at the Golden Globes on January 8. If the actor takes Red Robin up on its offer, the restaurant chain will make a $20,000 donation to the charity of his choice.
Thus, a social-media craze was born.
Menswear brand Harly Co. answered the challenge with one of its own.
If Red Robin will rescind their request for Ventimiglia to cut off his man bun for the event, but still pay the $20K to his charity of choice, Harly Co. will offer a donation of its own, including a Harly "Air" Baseball Cap and T-Shirt for the actor, along with a dozen Harly Ballcaps and a dozen Harly T-Shirts to Ventimiglia's charity of choice.
Then, social media users started taking sides, using the #losethebun hashtag followed by traditional media, including TV stations, running segments tracking this debate.
So far, the actor has not commented on his hairstyle plans.
Red Robin's initial campaign is supported with a YouTube video showing a variety of men with different types of man buns — such as the nub, palm tree and the triple threat — that all ultimately make the decision to #losethebun and go for the Red Robin Wedgie-style burger.
The clip has already received more than 90,685 views as of mid-day Friday, January 6.
There are also Facebook and Instagram posts promoting a number of these menu options, including the newly introduced Avocado Chicken Burger and the Tavern Line all Wedgie Style. Red Robin developed a landing page specific to this promotion.
MDC Partner's KBS landed the account after an agency review in July 2016. Red Robin spent $20.4 million on advertising in 2015, according to Kantar Media.