Every Fourth of July, Americans nationwide celebrate their freedoms over a barbecue. And yet many of the troops who make those very freedoms possible find themselves far from home on the holiday—and unable to take part in the celebration. So Carnival Cruise Line, a brand all about bringing people together, partnered with Operation Homefront and SapientRazorfish to bring Americans and troops together for The World’s First Social-Powered Barbecue.
Here’s how it worked. Americans everywhere posted messages of gratitude to the military on social networks using #ThankYouBurger. Then, at a special barbecue held for Marines in San Diego, those unique messages of thanks were laser-inscribed live onto hamburger buns and shared with the Marines using a special invention: a social-to-physical lasering device which we designed, prototyped and partnered to build. Along the way, we tested everything from laser intensity to burger bun selection in order to ensure the result was both legible and delicious.
#ThankYouBurger inspired over 16,000 submissions and reached millions, but, most importantly, it created a series of unique one-to-one connections between Americans everywhere and the troops who protect their freedoms every day.
Birthing an idea that started with the name "Laser Buns" is always fun. But making it happen is more tedious and involved than the initial concept. The printers had never done this before, the event was in two months, we almost did it in Saudi Arabia, and we didn't even know if it was possible. An event like this takes coordination on all fronts. And I'm really proud to have worked with a team that can pull something like this off. From the bun prototypes to the military partnership to the social media management to the PR integration to the event layout to the design and campaign elements - we managed to create something completely unique.
Many people covered the event which drove up participation before, during and after the event. Guy Fieri and Former Miss USA Deshauna Barber, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve helped push the message themselves along with other influencers that received special test buns of their messages the day before the event.