Kum & Go enlists TikTok star to conduct fake ‘prank’

TikTok influencer Kyle Scheele standing with a cardboard cutout of himself.
(Credit: Kyle Scheele / TikTok)

Kyle Scheele is pretending the chain had nothing to do with the Kyle Scheele Meale idea. But, uh … it did.

DES MOINES: At first, it looked like Kyle Scheele, a Springfield, Missouri, author and motivational speaker, pulled a prank on Kum & Go. But it turns out, the convenience store was in on it all along.

Last week, Scheele posted a TikTok video in which he created a massive cutout of himself jamming out with a pizza guitar that advertised a fake “Kyle Scheele Meal” and placed it in a Kum & Go store. In the video, which has since amassed 25.2 million views, Scheele makes it sound like he planned the idea himself and the store’s staffers aren’t in on it.

@kylescheele Some friends try to get you into an MLM, I try to get you into an RHC (reverse heist crew) #heist #cardboardcutout ♬ original sound - kylescheele

Kum & Go also posted on social media about the meal, acting confused about its origins.

Scheele kept up the ruse, explaining in a follow-up video that Kum & Go reached out to him after it saw his video to “get the ball rolling” to create a real Kyle Scheele Meale, which consists of a 12 oz. Red Bull and a pizza sandwich. The meal costs $5, and from now until Thanksgiving, Kum & Go will donate $2 of every meal, up to $10,000, to the charity No Kid Hungry. Red Bull is also matching the donation total.

That video from Scheele was sponsored by Kum & Go, while the previous ones were not.

@kylescheele #ad I’ve never been more excited to be able to use #sponsored. We did it, you guys! @kumandgo @Red Bull USA @No Kid Hungry ♬ original sound - kylescheele

Certain media outlets, such as USA Today, have been reporting on the campaign as a “prank” that Scheele carried out on his own.

However, Kum & Go’s director of brand marketing Matt Riezman said that is not technically the truth. The chain actually planned the stunt with Scheele from the beginning.

“We have seen some outlets that appear to be reporting based on what they have seen on TikTok, but that have not reached out to Kum & Go for comment,” said Riezman. “To my knowledge, no one from the Springfield News-Leader or USA Today has reached out to Kum & Go.”

The chain was looking for ways to have fun on social media to hype up its food and give back to its communities. Kum & Go operates 400 stores in 11 states.

“We liked this idea of a celebrity meal, but we didn’t have the money to go out and pay Nelly to be our celebrity meal spokesperson,” said Riezman.

He added that the team thought Scheele, known for his TikTok stunts, would fit well with the Kum & Go brand due to his mix of “humor and hijinks.” The brand, Riezman explained, has a history of innovative, humorous and sometimes subversive marketing tactics.

“This was an idea that came about in conversations between us and [Scheele],” said Riezman. “That is where it all started.”

He added his team made sure the stores “were ready and knew what was coming” right before the company officially announced the launch.

Riezman added that his team had an idea of how the storyline might play out, but the video went viral “much quicker” than they expected. Kum & Go started getting comments on social media on Sunday night that some of its locations had already run out of pizza and Red Bull, in association with the meal.

“The rumor that the Kyle Scheele Meale has sold out is exaggerated,” said Riezman. “So if there are shortages, we will get those fixed shortly.”

People are also telling the chain to put cutouts of Scheele, like the one featured in his video, in more of its locations.  

No PR firm assisted Kum & Go with this campaign and the company hasn’t spent any advertising dollars to promote this.

Kum & Go has been building its brand on social media for the last three years. Its main focus areas are staying true to its brand, building its brand voice and giving back.

“For us, a lot of the groundwork doing stuff like this on TikTok is building our brand, telling people who we are and building a relationship with them,” explained Riezman.

He added that the brand will likely work with Scheele again.

“We are in the midst of launching a new food program, testing it in two of our markets,” Riezman said. “So he may be back.”

This story first appeared on PRWeek US.


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