SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A social media influencer is apologizing after a trade publication revealed his stunt wasn’t what it appeared to be. Kyle Scheele’s TikTok video about sneaking a billboard with his face on it into a gas station went viral last month. The buzz created supposedly led Kum & Go to launch a meal with his name on it.
Scheele posted another TikTok video Tuesday to explain the situation:
“I’ll cut to the chase. I messed up and I’m sorry. Recently AdWeek posted an article about the Kyle Sheele Meale in which they said Kum & Go was in on it from the beginning. Some people are understandably mad at that. The thing is that the way some people are reading that article is that Kum & Go planned an elaborate corporate marketing stunt and that they just hired me to pull it off. That is not true,” said Sheele.
The gas station chain connected with Sheele earlier this year and they asked him what is his “craziest idea.” He told them it would be funny if he had his own “influencer meal.” Sheele says Kum & Go was on board to do it and had discussed doing a celebrity meal before. But, they liked the idea of a “non-celebrity meal” even more.
“A lot of things happened after that. But, what did not happen is what people seem to infer from the AdWeek article is that a corporate marketing team jumped in to execute the whole thing. That just did not happen, at all. Instead, they said ‘Go make something fun.’ So, I did.
What is real?
In the video that went viral Scheele says that he asked the gas station convenience store clerk if he could take home a cardboard cutout of Post Malone. The clerk said that he did not really know much about the ad. Vendors bring them in and take them out without really dealing with the other people working in the store. That is what he said was the inspiration behind the stunt.
“That whole Post Malone story was true. It really did happen and that’s what inspired this whole thing. I really did enlist my friends to take the pictures and make the cutout. I did accidentally make the cutout way too big. Those shirts were not designed by the Kum & Go marketing department. They were designed by my friend who is a middle school art teacher. Kum & Go did not orchestrate any of that. They just gave me permission to run wild,” said Sheele.
Kum and Go launched the Kyle Scheele Meale last month. It is two slices of pizza and a Red Bull for $5. Two dollars of every meal sold until Thanksgiving went to No Kid Hungry to provide meals for kids in need.
A previous statement about the launch of the meal from the gas station chain said, “Kum & Go is thrilled to partner with Kyle on such a humorous, unexpected initiative that aligns with Kum & Go’s commitment to fighting food insecurity in our towns and cities.”
Sheele said that he was pleasantly surprised when the video he posted unexpectedly went viral. The responses on social media from fans, the selfies with the billboard, and all of the comments were genuine.
“Even though they did not plan or orchestrate it, they did know about it. In retrospect, I should have just been upfront and told you that. That was a mistake and I am sorry,” said Sheele.
A comment was added last night to this video posted by Sheele in November. It says, “Disclosure: this was an #ad for Kum & Go and I should have stated that from the beginning, sorry.