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What Kanye West's pro-McDonald's tweet did for the fast-food giant

Kanye West arrives at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, August 28, 2016.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Kanye West arrives at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, August 28, 2016.

Kanye West's apparently random Twitter proclamation that his favorite brand is McDonald's could be a great marketing moment for the fast food chain, whether they knew about the artist's passion for their burgers and fries or not.

Social marketing company Spredfast found that McDonald's Twitter mentions went up 900 percent from the hour before Kanye sent out his proclamation to the hour after.

While it's hard to put a dollar figure on how valuable Kanye's tweet is for the chain, there are useful comparisons.

When Taco Bell used a social-only strategy to drive up pre-orders for an unnamed product (which turned out to be the "Quesalupa"), Dave Rosner, executive vice president of strategic marketing at technology and influencer platform ZEFR, said the company was able to drive more than 71,000 pre-orders through online influencers and other social media posts. ZEFR helped with the social strategy on the campaign.

This isn't the first time West has voiced his passion for McDonalds. He wrote "The McDonald's Man" for musician Frank Ocean's zine "Boys Don't Cry," which was published on On Aug. 20. The ode to the fast food chain — more like a conspiracy theory about evil french fries — was accompanied by pictures of Kanye picking up some McDonald's grub via the drive-thru while in his Lamborghini.

Before the poem, McDonald's was being mentioned about 343 times per minute on Twitter, per Spredfast. After the news about the poem came out, it went up to more than 2,000 tweets per minute.

"Kanye's tweet caused a huge increase in mentions related to McDonald's over the last hour," said Chris Kerns, vice president of research and analytics at Spredfast. "While taste-makers and influencers often share branded promotional content with little fanfare, the vague nature of the tweet, combined with his equally head scratching 'The McDonald's Man' poem earlier this month, have added to the fervor. It will be interesting to see how and if McDonald's responds." (McDonald's told CNBC that West is not a paid endorser for the company.)

Since West's poem, 62 percent of all digital engagement around McDonald's in entertainment content has been West-related, said Marketing technology company Amobee.

For comparison, 64 percent of all digital engagement around McDonald's on sports content was Olympics related. In layman's terms: Kanye West gave McDonald's a similar bump in the entertainment category as the Olympics gave the brand around sports, a much pricier sponsorship opportunity.

Even before that, West has named dropped McDonald's Fish-O-Fillet sandwiches in his song "N**** in Paris."

"It's all about the timing and the relevance…. For Kanye, because it's real and because it's connected with something bigger – the poem he did with Frank Ocean – it's having a huge impact," Rosner said.

"First, the right person with the right product can have a huge positive impact," Rosner added. "Second, when a brand finds people who believe in it, it can have a huge impact. It doesn't have to be Kanye."