Kyle Scheele's TikTok prank stirs up drama for star and Kum & Go
Buckle in for a weird "only in 2021" story, folks. It involves Kum & Go, a TikTok star, and some Gen Zers who feel betrayed by them all.
Where our story begins: Meet Kyle Scheele. A fun-loving TikTok creator who's known for his wholesome jokes that entertain his 3 million+ followers.
- A few weeks ago, he shared his latest prank: Leaving a larger-than-life cardboard cutout of himself, advertising the "Kyle Scheele Meal," in the middle of an unknowing Kum & Go store.
The result: The TikTok went beyond viral — 28+ million views and counting.
- People stood in line to take pictures of themselves with the fake ad. Some asked confused store employees if they could order the Kyle Scheele Meal.
- The internet demanded the meal become a real thing, with brands like TikTok and the Dallas Cowboys jumping on board.
So it did. Kum & Go launched the limited time only "Kyle Scheele Meale" and made it into a charitable cause. For $5, people could buy two pizza slices and a Red Bull with $2 going towards No Kid Hungry, a childhood hunger relief nonprofit.
- It was an instant success with Scheele even launching Kum & Go x Kyle Scheele merch to help boost the cause.
So what happened? Things took a turn following a story in Adweek, where both Scheele and Kum & Go officials shared that the viral prank wasn't as spur-of-the-moment as people first believed.
- "What many didn't know, however, is that the entire concept was actually a campaign orchestrated by Kum & Go and Scheele to promote the brand's own version of a purpose-driven celebrity meal," according to the article.
Cue in: A swath of disappointed Scheele fans who said they felt tricked by the seemingly grassroots prank.
Scheele ultimately released an apology TikTok on Monday, saying that while the prank itself was organic, Kum & Go did know he was planning on doing something.
- But the excitement, momentum and charitable efforts were all real, he said.
The bottom line: Kum & Go officials said they didn't have anything to add.
- The convenience store chain is donating $10K to No Kid Hungry.
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