THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Rooty and the Polarizing Pants Post

Entered in Single Post or Activation

Objective

Who would get upset about pants on a Root Bear? Turns out, a lot of people.  

Following M&M’s “decision” to retire their spokescandies, A&W Restaurants decided to join the online conversation with our own un-bear-able announcement: beloved mascot Rooty the Great Root Bear would now be wearing jeans. 

Strategy

Less than 24 hours after the M&M’s announcement, A&W went live with a riff on the post. Mimicking the design of the original image and the copy used, we added some paw-sitively perfect bear puns to drive home the humor. 

Results

The post took on a life of its own when Fox Business, failing to recognize the parody, reported the story as true. Soon after, “Rooty” began trending on Twitter/X as the conversation shifted to one about satire, faux outrage, and the importance of fact-checking. Other bear mascots like Cocaine Bear, Tony the Tiger, and Smokey Bear even weighed in on the controversy.

The post became our most popular ever on the platform — all completely organic — achieving:  

Outside of the incredible results on Twitter/X, the post received national media coverage from CBS News, HuffPost, AVClub, and more. We also saw a 50% increase in website traffic in the days following the post going viral. 

Media

Entrant Company / Organization Name

A&W Restaurants, Inc.

Links

Entry Credits