Brody Jackson, age 11, went viral during the Little League World Series after joking that he wanted to grow up to be a chicken nugget taste tester. His local Wendy’s paid attention and the resulting collaboration is a home run.

The viral moment

Players in the Little League World Series are asked to fill out a tournament questionnaire regarding their nickname, favorite sports teams, favorite singers, etc.

During an August 20 baseball game between Webb City, Missouri, and Iowa, Jackson’s bio card read “Age: 11 | 4’11” | DREAM JOB: CHICKEN NUGGET TASTE TESTER.”

The moment immediately went viral, including a shoutout from Sports Illustrated.

“It started off as kind of like a joke,” Jackson told TODAY Food. “But then it was on ESPN, and it just started growing and growing. And more people started seeing it.”

Wendy’s takes note

Wendy’s was quick – and smart – about taking notice of the viral buzz, treating the team almost immediately to a postgame nugget party.

This was followed by Jackson being named Wendy’s “Honorary Chicken Nugget Taste Tester” and gift cards for free nuggets every week for a year.

“Wendy’s is always listening for opportunities to make our fans’ dreams come true,” said Carl Loredo, the U.S. chief marketing officer for Wendy’s. “When we spotted 11-year-old Little Leaguer Brody’s big league dream job aspirations to become a professional chicken nugget taste tester, we do what we do best and made it a home run reality for Brody.”

Smart marketing pays off

What a smart move by Wendy’s. First, as I’ve written about before, chicken and baseball just seem to go together as two of America’s most beloved pastimes. I dare you to name one person who hasn’t dreamed of becoming either a big league hitter or the person who determines the future of food.

Secondly, chicken nuggets are having a major moment right now, especially with members of Generation Z. Members of this demographic, born between 1996 and 2010, are beginning to graduate college and start jobs, which means their purchasing choices are becoming increasingly influential.