It doesn’t matter if you’re a brand that’s just starting out, or one like Jack in the Box that’s been around for decades, the rules for social media virality are the same: find cultural moments, connect with influencers, and get creative with your messaging.
Back in late December of last year, TikTok user crystalscookingfun took a flour tortilla, cut from the edge to the center, filled each quadrant of the circle with a different ingredient, and then folded the tortilla and grilled it. The trend quickly took off with TiKTok users around the world trying the new “Tortilla Hack,” and substituting their own favorite ingredients.
Inspired by this viral hack, fast food chain Jack in the Box partnered up with Mythical Kitchen (Josh Scherer) to create the Dulce de Mythical Tortilla: a dessert tortilla filled with Jack in the Box cheesecake and churros, cinnamon sugar, and caramel syrup. All wrapped up and grilled, this dessert tastes just like Dulce de Leche.
Jack in the Box’s partnership with Mythical Kitchen is part of their recent efforts to dive into influencer marketing and connect with their audience through engaging content, with Cassidy Fisherman and Juliette Burns leading the way.
Cassidy Fishman is the social media manager at Jack in the Box. She oversees both organic and paid social media content, influencer management, and community management. She works closely with Juliette Burns, the account lead at Social Studies to define and obtain influencer talent.
“We actually started influencer marketing in 2019,” Cassidy said. “It really evolved from creating our ‘Jack Pack,’ which is our core group of Jack influencers that we use on a consistent basis to help build our brand relationship and make authentic partnerships.”
The Jack Pack was initially created to promote specific products. Today, their angle has changed a bit.
“Looking forward to this year, we actually are focusing more on culture and seeing which cultural moments we could utilize influencers to help build the Jack brand and our stance on being a culturally relevant brand,” Cassidy said. “We’re really excited about this shift in mindset.”
That “shift in mindset” is exactly what brough Jack in the Box and Mythical Kitchen together. “We knew that he was very innovative in fast food trends and with his content, Cassidy said. “You could just tell that he would be a good fit for this type of activation.”
Finding Viral Trends and Influencers to Work With
The Jack in the Box team always has their eyes and ears on social media, keeping up with the latest trending topics and activities. They say the “Tortilla Hack” as a great opportunity because it was not only popular, but it was completely customizable.
“This was a trend that we saw continuously populating, and we saw it continuously arise to our consumers and they were posting their own. So, we thought that since it does align with our customers, why not recreate it for them? We took this sweet approach because it was our own Jack way of doing it differently instead of putting a burger on half of it and cheese on a quarter. It was our own way of making it sweet and savory for our consumers” – Cassidy Fishman
The fact that Jack in the Box took their “Tortilla Hack” out of the “box” and decided to make a dessert tortilla instead of a burger one just goes to show how important personalization and creativity is when utilizing influencer marketing. Cassidy says that these add to the authenticity of a marketing campaign.
“We always love influencers to be themselves as that’s really what carries over that authentic streamline. [As long as it’s] within the parameters that we define. [It’s] super important in making sure that the content aligns with the campaign, but also provides them with their unique sense of personality.”
One way to find influencers that will produce authentic content is to seek out those who are already fans of the brand, Cassidy says. “If the influencer is already a fan of your brand, that’s even better because you know that they’re tried and true and everything they’re saying is very authentic.”
Working with Influencers on Instagram vs. TikTok
Jack in the Box used to focus their marketing efforts on Instagram, predominantly. Now that one of their target audiences (Gen Z) spends much of their time on TikTok, their efforts are split equally between the two platforms.
However, their approach to content creation is quite different on TikTok than it is on Instagram, Cassidy says. “Instagram is just a more aesthetically pleasing platform, so we find that high quality content performs well on Instagram, whereas that sound-based, scrappy content performs better on TikTok.”
No matter which platform influencer marketing is utilized on, the difference between it and traditional forms of marketing is clear: influencer marketing thrives when a brand allows for creative freedom and prioritizes a strong, meaningful relationship between themselves and their marketing partners. Scripted and directed content has its time and place, but creating viral content is all about finding a way to relate to your audience in a genuine way – just as Jack in the Box has done with their version of the “Tortilla Hack.”