18 May 2015 | Team Tamar

Why did Nando’s react so cautiously to #CheekyNandos?

nandosUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past week, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of the ‘Cheeky Nando’s’ meme and the internet-based ‘Mega LOLZ’ it has generated. Just in case you’re not, here’s the in-a-nutshell version.

An anonymous Tumblr user named ‘Chavvesty‘ (who has since closed his blog down for unknown reasons) responded to an American Tumblr user who asked about the definition of the term ‘Cheeky Nandos’ – and his reply was so delightfully funny, it spread across the internet like some kind of banter rash. Here’s the screenshot for the uninitiated:


Within hours, every listicle-loving news site – from Buzzfeed to the Gloucester Citizen – had written up a hastily-gathered article on the subject, with memes galore. Seriously, there are hundreds of them. We’ve yet to find one which is quite as good as the original, but it has certainly raised some smiles in the wake of a very serious election campaign the week before.

The one organisation who have so far failed to capitalise on the meme in anything but the loosest terms is Nando’s themselves. As of today, the only thing they’ve really done to capitalise on the meme is release this statement which claims they are trying to hunt down the original poster to treat him to some free chicken. And given the lack of updates since, one assumes they have yet to track him or her down.

Whilst it’s hard to argue that the offer of a free meal (and, we assume, flights from the US) isn’t a nice one, the speed at which they are going to get a follow-up on this is pretty weak – which probabaly means they are going to post their “response” after the rest of the world has completely forgotten about Cheeky Nando’s gate.

Given the impressive speeds with which brands seem to be able to jump on trends and up-to-the-minute happenings these days (remember the Oreos tweets during the Superbowl black-out?) it seems strange that Nando’s – a brand who are quite used to attracting attention through social media – have kept so quiet.

One theory behind their slow response is that by immediately jumping on something whose origins are (presently) pretty unclear, people may have assumed it was all just a ‘publicity stunt’ or some clever subversive marketing… Which probably would have diminished the effect, given its viral nature.

Another theory is that Nando’s are trying to play down some of the less favourable responses that followed Chavvesty’s reply – many of which paint Nando’s as a haven for chavs, no-gooders and other less salubrious types.


Whatever the situation, it will be interesting to see what Nando’s eventual response actually is – and whether it manages to capture people’s interest still, or miss the proverbial boat. And one thing is for sure – whether it’s clever marketing, genuinely viral content or something else entirely, it’s definitely made me hungry for a Nando’s over the past week!

Team Tamar