NEW YORK: A creative director from an advertising agency just happens to find a perfect, untouched In-N-Out Burger far from its native habitat on a random street in Queens on a Saturday morning. He posts about it on social media, starting a viral sensation that is covered by the New York Post.
It certainly reads like a well-executed publicity stunt, but Lincoln Boehm, associate creative director at Johannes Leonardo, said he or his agency can't take credit.
Boehm told PRWeek that his firm has "absolutely, 100% nothing to do with" the photo-shoot-worthy burger left in Queens. Boehm explained that he and his wife came upon the mysterious, too-good-to-be-true burger on Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. EST. It shocked him because, as burger aficionados know all too well, none of In-N-Out’s 300 locations are east of the Mississippi River.
"I took photos of it and posted it to Instagram immediately," he said. "Everyone was asking me for proof of stuff. I went back and found the geotags on the photos I took."
Boehm’s post quickly picked up likes and comments, and people started texting him about the miracle beef burger. One friend that contacted him was David Gardner of Bleacher Report. "He has 13,000 followers on Twitter," said Boehm. "He asked if he could post my picture and tag me in it. Then it got hundreds and hundreds of retweets."
My buddy Lincoln found a perfectly wrapped In-N-Out burger...— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) July 20, 2019
On the streets of Queens, New York!
I AM FREAKING OUT pic.twitter.com/TZbGvLn9N0
That’s when Tamar Lapin of the New York Post noticed and contacted Boehm on Sunday evening.
Boehm said he has reached out to In-N-Out, but has not heard back.
"It doesn’t make sense as a stunt to me because why would you choose Jamaica, Queens, on a Saturday morning?" said Boehm. "I have been searching on Twitter to see if anyone else has had spottings."
The fast-food chain doesn’t seem to have the most "sophisticated" marketing department, he said, adding that "they have so much cultural equity that they kind of don’t have to." Growing up in Los Angeles, Boehm remembers commercials for In-N-Out with the "lowest production value ever."
An In-N-Out representative was not immediately available for comment.
Update: Denny Warnick, the fast-food chain’s VP of operations, told PRWeek on Monday evening that it must have taken "considerable planning for that burger to make the trip from the grill all the way to the Empire State," as In-N-Out is only located in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Oregon. "So while it is a mystery as to how one of our burgers ended up in Queens, we’re sure someone is having a good laugh," he added.
Do you think this is a publicity stunt? How did the burger end up in New York?
A creative director found a pristine In-N-Out burger on a random street in Queens. Is this a publicity stunt?— PRWeek US (@PRWeekUS) July 22, 2019