A 16-year-old chicken nugget aficionado ignited a Twitter storm this week that has drawn in Wendy’s, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actor Bradley Cooper.
Carter Wilkerson of Reno, Nevada, lit the fuse on the #NuggsForCarter phenomenon on April 5. With help from Wendy’s Twitter community manager team, he set a goal of 18 million retweets to get him chicken nuggets for life.
“It all started as a joke,” Wilkerson wrote on the #NuggsForCarter website, set up as the campaign took hold. “I was laying [sic] in my bed scrolling through my Twitter timeline when I thought of something. I recalled tweets I have seen where kids will text their parents asking ‘How many retweets for a dog?’ types of questions,” Wilkerson wrote. “I decided to kick it up a notch and ask my favorite fast food restaurant the same type of question: ‘How many retweets for a year of free nuggs?’”
Wendy’s tweeted back the “outrageous goal of 18 million,” he recalled. A spokesperson for Wendy’s said the burger brand’s social channels are handled both in-house and through an agency.
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
The Nevada teen turned the retweet effort into a fundraiser, with sales of t-shirts and money being raised to assist families with members who have breast cancer and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
Ellen DeGeneres, host of “The Ellen Show” and the holder of Twitter’s most-retweeted message ever, with her star-studded picture when she hosted the 2014 Academy Awards, jumped into the fray, giving Wilkerson’s cause a boost. The Oscars photo got more than 3.3 million retweets.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) April 14, 2017
DeGeneres enlisted the actor Bradley Cooper for a video to give Wilkerson’s efforts a boost as well.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) April 13, 2017
Other corporations, politicians and celebrities were surfing on the #NuggsForCarter hashtag as well, including: Amazon; Apple Music; Microsoft; actor-producer Aaron Paul; John Legere, CEO of T Mobile USA; the business networking website LinkedIn; and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. United Airlines, which faced harsh criticism this week after a passenger was forcibly removed from an oversold flight and subsequently injured, offered Wilkerson a free flight to any city it serves.
Even Google Doodles, the division of the Google search engine conglomerate that develops its creative homepages, got in on the action with a special chicken nugget doodle.
— Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) April 13, 2017
Wendy’s, for its part, has pledged $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
As of Friday afternoon, Wilkerson had reached 2.8 million retweets.