Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen recently partnered with lifestyle brand and meme page Middle Class Fancy in a collaboration that ends on Sept. 30.
The delivery-only restaurant has been offering the Rand Burger, named after an ethereal next-door neighbor and grill master. Middle Class Fancy’s brand pokes fun at suburban mediocrity, often exploring the comically rich veins of “Karen” pictures and stock photos of goofy-looking businessmen.
Rand is a recurring trope for Middle Class Fancy, encapsulating the cookout host waving over a picket fence. It’s like naming a burger after the ideas of a Karen or Chad.
According to the Flavortown site, Fieri is challenging this imaginary amalgamation of suburbia to “take Rand’s spot as the best grill master in town.”
[Review: The new season of ‘Dear White People’ is creative but lacks quality]
A meme posted to the Instagram account @MiddleClassFancy on Sept. 12 says “Me ordering a Rand Burger before watching 10 hours of football on the couch like a bag of shit,” above an older gentleman sitting at a laptop. And on the post, the Flavortown account commented “The only vibe allowed.”
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I think he just insulted his potential customers. And this is marketing now? Surely, Fieri must have a team running his social media, but it feels like this is just him casually on Instagram, not promoting a collaboration between two real businesses that make lots of money.
The Flavortown account commented on a meme about choosing a career versus choosing clothes, saying “If I’m unemployed but my fit looks good so be it.
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This bizarre partnership has no substance beyond Fieri’s name recognition and Middle Class Fancy’s digital audience. The meme page is inherently hollow. It deals in memes, a vaporous commodity that replaces punch lines with images that people have already seen, yet it somehow keeps 2.4 million followers on Instagram.
It must be a joke. This is a world-famous chef partnering with a meme page to sell a burger named after a fake person.
[Faye Webster will make you feel, laugh and cry]
Everything about this collaboration seems to dissolve in your hands, leaving you holding bad “jokes,” Guy Fieri marketing gusto and perhaps a burger if you are so enticed.
I fear that this is where internet commerce is moving, toward selling ideas with no utility. McDonald’s Travis Scott meal at least corresponded with a real person who does something. Rand is an archetype, a jest, but nothing of real value. Rand doesn’t add anything to the burger, not even the negligible value of “this is what celebrity X gets to eat, you can be like them.”
The Rand Burger is secondary in this arrangement. The primary exchange is in influence. Middle Class Fancy’s followers are thrust into Flavortown, and Fieri’s loyal fans follow a new meme page to start consuming a deluge of content with a side of burger.