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The fast food chain's Facebook page has surprisingly been killing it throughout this past year, by posting hilariously clever homages to popular movies, TV shows, and video games starring their own food products. Take a bite out of some recent highlights.
Arby's definitely had the sauciest tribute to the late Alan Rickman on the anniversary of his death at the start of 2017. The account will often upload videos of artists drawing using their Arby's sauce, and in honor of Rickman's famous Harry Potter role as the self-sacrificing guardian Severus Snape, they drew Snape's patronus (a doe) alongside the closest thing he has to a catchphrase. Always is his response to Dumbledore's curious response to the fact that Snape's Patronus reflects the torch he still carries for Lily Potter.
At the core of these Arby's posts, and what makes them so appealing, is an unabashed love for "nerdy" or "geeky" culture. Some of the very first pop culture posts that the social media team was doing were references to The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Deadpool, and other video game and comic book franchises. Clearly, the Arby's team is still sticking close to their tried-and-true fanbase, especially given this awesome recent Studio Ghibli reference.
Another big target of these posts is to capitalize on the trendy story of the day, such as posting a Power Rangers-inspired photo on the day that the franchise released the trailer for its rebooted new film. It was this strategy of honing in on the buzzy pop culture news of the moment the first established Arby's as a social media force in the first place. Back during the 2014 Grammy Awards, the chain proved its pop culture savviness online for the first time by making a joke about how Pharrell's large hat looked exactly like their logo.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Arby's really won over my heart by paying tribute to my all-time favorite TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And the social media team proved they knew their Buffy stuff by interacting with fans using references to the show. When one commenter brought up an allusion to the series' musical episode, the Arby's account was able to slyly work in a mention of one of the song titles in their reply.
King of the Hill
Amidst all the clever ketchup drawings and topical pop culture references, some of the best posts from the account are the random ones. Who in the world would think of recreating King of the Hill with chicken fries!? Arby's, that's who.
Although the social media success of Arby's can be traced back to the 2014 Pharrell tweet, the chain didn't start incorporating pop culture into its brand as effectively as it is now until 2016. One of the first pop culture-related photos that the Facebook account uploaded was in last February, just a few days before the world premiere of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool movie.
Dragon Ball Z
Arby's used its Deadpool post to set the tone for this new brand of marketing, and upped the nerdiness factor another notch a few months later by going Super Saiyan with a pic of Goku from the anime Dragon Ball Z with hash browns for hair.
One of the reasons the campaign has become so beloved is that Arby's doesn't only craft its images for the mega-popular, mainstream pieces of pop culture. Fans of the (criminally under-appreciated) Disney series Gravity Falls were in for a treat last August when Arby's recreated the show's antagonist Bill Cipher with a hash brown and some sauce.
And when Christmas came around, Arby's was more than ready with a bunch of nerd-tastic homemade ornaments, like this adorable one of BMO from Adventure Time.
And Arby's never forgets the classics either, as the social media team proved last month when they turned a bunch of sandwich wrappers into the rabbit from Donnie Darko. From the looks of the Facebook page, Arby's isn't showing any signs of slowing down their pop culture postings, so now would be the perfect time to start following and guess what TV show or movie is coming next!