Companies Use Drake-Meek Mill Feud As A Marketing Tool

Corporate America has jumped into the feud between hip-hop artists Drake and Meek Mill on the outside chance that taking a bite out of their social media beef might help them woo millennial customers.

Photo: John Davisson
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Empire Polo Field, Indio, Calif.

Whataburger, White Castle and Burger King flew into the Twitter storm with witty, sometimes sardonic commentary on the drama that has been playing out between the two in recent weeks.

“Meek Mill take it from us – if you gonna serve beef serve it high quality,” read a tweet from Texas-based Whataburger.

“All these burgers and they still got beef,” Burger King wrote on Twitter, along with a photo of its signature Whopper.

The squabble began July 21 when Mill took to Twitter to say that Drake didn’t write his verse for their collaboration “R.I.C.O.” on Mill’s recent album. In response, Drake released the diss tracks “Charged Up” and “Back to Back,” the latter claiming that Mill was riding the coattails of Nicki Minaj, Mill’s girlfriend and Drake’s label mate and longtime collaborator.

Mill then released a diss song of his own aimed at Drake, “Wanna Know,” but music fans and companies were unimpressed.

“It’s ok, @MeekMill. Maybe beef isn’t your thing. #ChickenRings @Drake,” White Castle tweeted.

Photo: Patrick Gray / Kabik Photo Group
Drai's Beach Club, Las Vegas, Nev.

Most of the corporate commentary on the feud was heavily retweeted, shared on Instagram and Facebook – and met with plenty of laughs.

Whether getting involved with pop culture squabbles is effective branding divides some marketing experts.

“It has to do with using cultural events to engage more (potential) customers,” said Robert Passikoff, the founder and president of brand research consultancy Brand Keys. Yet, Passikoff added, “there isn’t a whole lot of evidence that shows it equates to more sales.”

Frank Arthofer, a principal at The Boston Consulting Group, said companies that don’t engage people in non-traditional ways risk falling behind.

“Branded content creates a competitive advantage,”Arthofer said. His research suggests companies that can be quick and clever when the opportunity presents itself stand to gain because timely and creative tweets engage millennials and build consumers’ trust.

Jabs can come from unexpected corporate entities. In the Drake-Mill dispute, Planned Parenthood, Hamburger Helper and language-learning software company Rosetta Stone chimed in with their own snarky comments.

Theater chain Cineplex posed a cheeky question after Mill rapped in “Wanna Know” that a man urinated on Drake at a movie theater years ago.

“@Drake not in our theatre tho, right?” Cineplex asked.