ATLANTA: A missing Arby's menu sign has started a ransom war on TikTok.
TikTok user h1t1 shared a video October 22 claiming a thrifty TV purchase went wrong when the $25 flat screen turned out to just be an Arby's menu display.
The video has been viewed more than 15 million times and has drawn the attention of the fast food chain as it attempts to strike a deal to return the missing menu.
“We love the creativity that platforms like TikTok give creators, and when we came across this content, we saw it as a chance to have a little fun with a self-proclaimed 'Arby’s stan for life,'” said Jimmy Beck, digital and social media supervisor at Arby's.
The chain's TikTok page notes “Our TV IS MISSING!” in its description and a series of videos uploaded to the Arby's TikTok account show a working list of ideas to get h1t1 to return the menu, including “bribe with sandwiches” and “meat sweats.”
Actual attempts included a well-timed fly-over banner requesting the stolen property be returned and whispers of a sponsorship.
The latest update to negotiations is a video uploaded by Arby's on Tuesday claiming that a final offer is coming November 6.
The #Arbys hashtag has almost 212 million views on TikTok.
“We've had nearly 200,000 new followers in just two weeks,” Beck said. “Over the last seven days, our TikTok profile has been viewed nearly 1.2 million times, with video views on our account hovering at around 6.5 million.”
The original video by h1t1 has since inspired a spate of similar videos showing TikTokers affected by the missing menu or having their devices turn on only to show an Arby's menu on the screen.
This isn't the first time the fast food chain has gone viral on the platform. Just after it started its own channel in October 2019, TikToker iConicWill went viral doing the Buckle dance during his shift at Arby's.
Arby's social media team jumped on the chance, later partnering with Will for three more videos for the Arby's account.
“We see channels like TikTok as a way for us to introduce the brand to a new generation of guests – with our great menu of quality food and diverse options, we’re confident that these guests will love us, when they give Arby’s a try,” Beck said.
While Beck wouldn't admit how this story would end—or if Arby's would get its menu back—he said the main goal is looking for unique ways to engage with followers on social media.
“We’ve had so much fun engaging with h1t1, his followers and others on the platform that we’re looking to offer something special at Arby’s for all those that have been following along with us,” he said.
Edelman, Fallon and Moxie are supporting Arby’s on this effort.