Every so often a tweet breaks out of its social medium, and finds its way to Instagram and Facebook. On Wednesday, the tweet spreading across the internet came from Burger King.
got student loans? what's ur $cashtag?— Burger King (@BurgerKing) May 22, 2019
Either Burger King was saying that it was going to send money to student borrowers using Cash App, a mobile payment service (a $cashtag is its version of a username), or the fast-food giant was trolling all 92,000 people who responded to the tweet. Some of the responses to the Whopper purveyor were in jest, others seemingly genuine, but everyone wanted to know: Is anyone actually getting any money?
On Thursday, Burger King provided an answer. An ad showed a white screen overlaid with a jarring statistic in slime green as “Pomp and Circumstance”— you know, the graduation song—plays; “65 percent of students enter the world with student debt,” it says. Then, in an abrupt transition, the Burger King “King” appears swinging a flamethrower like Michael B. Jordan in Fahrenheit 451. “Your student debt goes here,” a caption bubble reads.
for real tho, we’re trying to pay off those loans. introducing Whopper Loans – make a purchase through the BK app for a chance to have your student loans paid off.— Burger King (@BurgerKing) May 23, 2019
see App for details. no purch req’d.https://t.co/5XnCilnPW4 pic.twitter.com/3JKIuXdctB
To be clear, no one who sent in a $cashtag actually got money from Burger King. This was a marketing stunt to promote Burger King’s new initiative, called “Whopper Loans.” It encourages borrowers to make a purchase through its app (but there is no purchase necessary, per a bit of fine print), enter their monthly student-loan-debt amount, and then “cross your fingers.” “LET BURGER KING EAT YOUR STUDENT DEBT,” a promotional site declares. The contest runs for two weeks. During the first and second weeks, the company is providing 150 prizes of up to $500 in debt relief; each time someone completes the form, that person will be eligible for the grand prize of up to $100,000 in debt relief. (If the grand-prize winner’s loans total less than $100,000, the difference will not be paid in cash.)