Is MrBeast Changing the Game in Food Marketing?

YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson – better known as MrBeast – is getting back into the food space with a better-for-you snack brand.

Following the success of his virtual restaurant brand, MrBeast Burger, Donaldson is introducing Feastables, starting with chocolate bars that use just four simple ingredients. The launch also includes a $1 million sweepstakes to aid Feastables’ marketing efforts.

Did Donaldson – who has become a social media giant, with 89.3 million YouTube subscribers – discover the next great marketing tactic? The Food Institute takes a closer look:

Staying True to the MrBeast Brand: A Key Marketing Strategy

Because Donaldson is already the face of a company with a built-in following, the brand has a certain level of authenticity that larger brands may lack.

“Tapping into an already engaged audience is a tried and tested marketing strategy, and really a dream come true for any marketer,” said Abbie Roberts, director, PPC advertising expert & marketing consultant at A L Roberts Digital, in an interview with The Food Institute. “That level of trust is already there, which can often be one of the hardest parts of making any marketing campaign work.”

Notably, the brand is rooted in “gamified experiences,” according to a company press release, bringing everything Donaldson is known for online – fan engagement, and games, for example – to the masses. As part of the Feastables launch, Donaldson will also be inviting 10 grand prize winners to travel to compete in a MrBeast video for the chance to win “MrBeast’s Chocolate Factory.”

Donaldson told Fast Company (Jan. 29) that his approach to launching the company is not so different to how he approaches most of his ideas. “What is something I think my audience will get most excited about, that they’ll like, what’s interesting, what’s the most spectacular thing we can do?” he said.

Social Media Levels the Playing Field

MrBeast’s entry into the food industry also highlights the role social media has had in making trends like this possible.

These days, most food trends articles include at least one TikTok inspired item, for example. McDonald’s has even gone as far as to introduce a limited menu featuring fan hacks that are pulled from social media platforms. Influencers are becoming the virtual face of established brands.

Social media has clearly changed the game for the food industry. Brands can now market effectively and cheaply. Donaldson is able to take things a step further by using his own celebrity and giant social media presence to create a brand around himself.

“MrBeast understands he must have an owned media strategy to cash in on his brand, recognizing that owned audience development is part of the package,” Sundus Shahid Bari, associate director of strategy & planning at Blitz Advertising, told The Food Institute.

“He’s applying the same entertainment principles to [the business] that made his channel huge. He’s not selling chocolate. He’s running a huge contest and has become a real-life Willy Wonka.”