How Steak-umm Became The Tweeting Voice Of Reason In A Pandemic

from the content-is-advertising dept

Many, many years ago I wrote about the importance of recognizing that content is advertising and advertising is content. A key point I was making was that these were not redundant. Good advertising should be good content to make people happy to see it. But also, any kind of good content can be good advertising for something else. I was reminded of this last week after seeing the Twitter account of Steak-umm suddenly become one of the best Twitter accounts to follow during the pandemic. To be honest, my last experience with Steam-umm, the frozen meat company, probably goes back to watching a commercial like this in 1982:

Those commercials were on all the time when I was a kid, but I don't think I ever got to experience the actual joy (?!?) of eating a Steak-umm. And for that we can blame my parents. However, perhaps I'll now give Steak-umm a shot, since watching its Twitter account actually become "the voice of reason in a pandemic."

It started on April 6th with a pretty damn good tweet thread about not falling for anecdotal reports, and looking for thoughtful, detailed studies:

I mean, even that self-aware final tweet is kind of pitch perfect for this kind of thing. Apparently the person behind all this is Nathan Allebach, who runs a communications shop that manages Steak-umm's feed and decided he'd had enough of all the misinformation he was seeing. According to an interview he gave Fast Company:

“It was more just a cumulative effect of me having a job to spend every moment on social, seeing a constant flow of information, and a lot of it wasn’t good information,” says Nathan Allebach of the agency Allebach Communications, who has been the human behind Steak-Umm’s social media since 2015. Despite the thread being posted at 10 p.m., Allebach says it wasn’t prompted by a specific moment or piece of news. “I know we’re in this state of panic, and heightened cultural anxiety, so people aren’t at their best all the time, thinking about where they’re getting their information.”

He's since followed it up with a few other somewhat philosophical threads on all of this -- including opining on the nature of its own tweets going viral:

Then there was another long thread on the difference between "experts" and "communicators" allowing factual information to be "spun."

And then another long thread about why people believe in conspiracy theories and how to respond to those believers:

It is fantastic content -- whether or not it sells any frozen meat. And even Steak-umm seems to recognize this:

As is pretty much always the case, what's amazing about this and what's catching people's attention is not just the fact that a frozen sliced meat company is tweeting about these things, but that it's doing so earnestly, even while clearly recognizing the absurdity of it being the sudden tweeting fountain of wisdom. But that's actually really important. In a time when cynicism, irony, and just everyday sarcasm seem to be the way plenty of people are dealing with this new incredibly uncertain age, having a bit of calm (if slightly tongue-in-cheek) earnestness is truly welcome. And if it helps sell more frozen meat, why, that would probably be a nice side benefit for the company.

Filed Under: advertising is content, content is advertising, covid-19, frozen meat, nathan allebach, native content, steak-umm
Companies: allebach communications, steak-umm, twitter


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 9:42am

    Sincerity, even from a corporate branded Twitter account, beats irony every day of the week.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 10:25am

    If Trump were CEO here, this advertising exec would be fired

    It does not matter whether or not the media buzz sells steak. A Trumpish CEO would resent any attention not directed to him personally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 10:38am

    I was just getting ready to go to the grocery store. Wanna guess what's on my mind now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 11:22am

      Re:

      Saute some onions and green peppers, chop up the Steak-Umm as it cooks, mix in the veggies, melt provolone on top of it, salt and pepper to taste. Serve on sub rolls.

      nice tasty cheesesteak that's not terribly expensive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    justok (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 11:30am

    The media is the munchies

    One way or the other, steak-umm gives you something to chew on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 12:03pm

    My dog welcomes steak and intelligent verbal intercouse

    Be smart!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jimb (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 2:30pm

    might just have to try some of that...

    Damn, I'm WFH and practically living on sandwiches now that I have to eat my own cooking. I might just pick up a pack of this 'near-meat' food product, just to see how it tastes compared with endless ham-bo-sands. Every school kid should be learning what's in those tweets... how come schools don't teach 'critical thinking'?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 3:22pm

      Re: might just have to try some of that...

      how come schools don't teach 'critical thinking'

      Why would the people running things want peons that could think for themselves?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 4:24pm

      Re: might just have to try some of that...

      The only lesson schools teach these days is that every child is a unique and beautiful snowflake who should win at everything (along with everyone else) and that their voice should be heard because every child already knows everything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      urza9814 (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 8:11pm

      Re: might just have to try some of that...

      "how come schools don't teach 'critical thinking'?"

      Well, they're supposed to. I remember that being an EXTREMELY popular buzzword when I was in school. But that's basically all it was. Although I guess I'm not sure that I remember it ever being taught on its own really, just vague statements when some kid would ask what that meant when instructed to "think critically" when analyzing a sonnet or something. Not too sure the teachers get it either.... but the words surely appeared on all of the state-mandated standardized testing!

      If I were a bit more cynical I might suggest that nobody understanding what those words really mean is intentional...throw the term at kids when they're too young to really get it, so instead they attach to it some false/partial definition of whatever got them through the test -- so something like just explaining in greater detail. Later in life, when they are asked to think critically about something, they'll end up doing that instead.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 13 Apr 2020 @ 8:37pm

      Re: how come schools don't teach 'critical thinking'?

      Possibly because it can be applied to lots of things ... including political and religious beliefs?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ROGS, 15 Apr 2020 @ 7:50am

      Re: might just have to try some of that...

      Nothing new in dumbing AMerican kids down-its on of the steps to owning the "machinery" under the Hegelian paradigm.

      Right and left wing educators actually agree that his is a problem, and even radical lesbian, long time Democrat scholars too:

      Prof. Camille Paglia on today's stdents:

      "They have no sense whatever of the destruction, of the great civilizations that rose and fell, and so on – and how arrogant people get when they’re in a comfortable civilization. They now have been taught to look around them to see defects in America – which is the freest country in the history of the world"

      https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/paglia-dumbing-down-america-began-public-sch ools/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 13 Apr 2020 @ 6:05pm

    Those commercials were on all the time when I was a kid, but I don't think I ever got to experience the actual joy (?!?) of eating a Steak-umm. And for that we can blame my parents. However, perhaps I'll now give Steak-umm a shot, since watching its Twitter account actually become "the voice of reason in a pandemic."

    I used to eat Steak-umms. They weren't bad. Fry them in a pan and they taste like thin steaks. Of course if you're expecting them to taste like something that was cooked in a 5-star restaurant, you'll be disappointed, but if you ever eat fast food, you'll probably like Steak-umms. The only reason I haven't bought them in a while is that I switched to a competing product, Steak-Eze, which are thicker frozen sandwich steaks that break apart better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ROGS, 14 Apr 2020 @ 11:10am

    This: And for that we can blame my parents

    You had great parents, knock it off....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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