Updated 4 p.m.
When the Steak-umm Twitter finally achieved its self-defined holy grail of verification, the person running the account joked it would probably never tweet again.
Of course, that didn’t last long.
After all, this is a person who strutted through the Eagles parade wearing a T-rex outfit. Laying low is not their style. So shortly after winning a blue checkmark on Jan. 15, the social media managers behind the frozen cheesesteak meat brand launched a new campaign — one with a more noble purpose.
Its name? The Savior Squad.
When it started, the Squad was a seemingly random collection of 32 funny and influential Twitter accounts brought together in a DM group chat, with a mission of doing good…somehow.
At first, Steak-umm social media coordinator Nathan Allebach of Allebach Communications told Billy Penn, he had no specific course of action in mind. “At the very least, I thought it would make a fun meme.”
But the group chat became more than just a fun meme. The Savior Squad launched its first charity campaign last Wednesday with a goal of raising $5,000 to bring clean water to those who need it by Valentine’s Day. It was an immediate hit, meeting that original funding goal in less than a day.
The Savior Squad counts among its constituents the official Twitter accounts for:
- Rapper Lil B
- Rock band Smash Mouth
- Snack food giant Lay’s
- Adult film actress Missy Martinez
- Frozen meal brand Kahiki Foods
- The shared account for drive-through chains Checkers and Rally’s
- “You Can Do Better” host Abbi Crutchfield
- Parody account “The Ham Man”
- Many more (including this writer)
Not all of the accounts in the group were involved with the charity campaign. And its early crowdfunding success was not a given.
“I was really surprised we reached it in less than 24 hours,” Allebach said. “We’re like The Justice League of Twitter. Sort of. Not really. Whatever.”
Maybe it was the…creative incentive Allebach came up with to get people to donate.
“If we reached $5,000 in a week, then I would go snowboarding in T-rex costume and have people pelt frozen boxes of Steak-umm at me while doing it,” he explained.
But Allebach wasn’t the only one who thought of enticements for the campaign. Missy Martinez, the adult film actress, has more than 450,000 followers — and she was eager to harness their interest for a good cause. She had previously been involved with charity work, she told Billy Penn, but hadn’t before used her online platform to promote something like that.
What could she offer? What else: “I could send signed 8×10 pictures of me to people who donate a certain amount, or offer a follow back,” Martinez said.
Martinez was generally stoked to be part of The Savior Squad because it “doesn’t involve me being naked,” she noted.
She was initially worried that her being involved would hurt the philanthropic mission, because for most corporate Twitter accounts, she said, being affiliated with a pornographic actress is “not their brand.” She mentioned an example of a time when Taco Bell tweeted at her, but deleted its tweet after finding out her profession.
But members of The Savior Squad did not treat her the same way. “I think this is going to catch on,” Martinez said. “I hope that it’s seen as a catalyst and helps spark other adult actresses to get involved and use their platforms for charity.”
Allebach said the members of the Twitter group have formed bonds by poking fun of “Steve,” a Savior Squad member (and real Allebach intern) who goes by “Idiot College Intern Steve,” despite claiming in his Twitter bio that his actual name is Bob.
But despite the funny, outlandish and critical-of-Steve conversations, the group stayed on track and stuck to its goal to “save the world.”
Squad member Mike Denison, an artist best known for his “#BeaADay” project, where he drew a picture of actress Bea Arthur every day for a year, said everyone in the group wants to reach that goal.
“I’m proud to be a part of a group of humans that exude empathy and strive to make the world a better place for all,” Denison said. “I like how everyone seems to be on the same page — not just empathetically, but on a comedic level, too.”
Allebach said he intends to use Steak-umm and The Savior Squad to continue charitable Twitter campaigns as long as the group sticks together.
“As long as the group dynamic stays strong, we’ll continue adding more influencers and coming up with new charitable goals to reach together,” Allebach said.
“The group chat is active around the clock, and we each frequently post updates to our Twitter pages. Stay tuned for what’s next. Steak-Umm bless.”