Online advertising is a profoundly weird thing in 2018, a world where people cheerfully volunteer to be publicly dragged by Wendy’s, and borderline inedible sugar treat Moon Pie sells itself with a steady stream of self-effacing surrealism. And hey, maybe there’s something to the idea that the crappier your foodstuff is, the more energy you have to put into catching people’s Twitter attention for it, because now we guess we are forced to be pleased to inform you that Steak-umm is totally woke.
Our sister site The Takeout has written about the frozen beef-stuff’s online presence before, back when the sliced meat product was just whiling away the hours making fun of Neutral Milk Hotel, as one does. But apparently the Steak-umm brand team wasn’t just killing time with Office memes or making fun of vegetarians: No, they were developing a whole philosophy, one that they unleashed in the form of a long-ish Twitter rant about the challenges facing the younger generation online today. And the truly frustrating aspect of this whole thing is that the resulting product—despite a few meat puns and a general sort of cultish vibe—is actually a really good breakdown of the ways life is hard for kids and young adults right now. Courtesy, again, of Steak-umm. God damn it.
So anyway, we all live in hell now. Because while this would be a pretty good rumination on online life from, say, a friend, or even just some stranger RT’d into your timeline, there’s something deeply unsettling about it coming from the mouthpiece of a corporate brand—even one that’s gone out of its way to create a personable image. (Maybe especially one with such a friendly “persona.”) No matter how good the advice or thoughts on display are, they are also, fundamentally, marketing. Hell, look at how many times we’ve typed the words “Steak-umm” in this article alone! Let’s be super-frank: @steak_umm exists to sell people reheatable beef strips, and anything else it does is secondary to that. That’s not to suggest that the people who wrote these tweets were being cynical—the sentiments on display feel sincere—but the idea of adopting the online marketing wing of a budget cheesesteak company as your personal survival guru is just too depressing to contemplate for more than a few seconds at a time. Honestly, we wish we just had some sort of meme we could post here to sum our feelings up.
Oh, fuck it: