Hamburger Helper and the Most Genius Content Marketing of 2016

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Hamburger Helper Mixtape

This might be the most compelling example of content marketing in the history of anything ever.

Especially the rap musics.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave under the ocean on a moon on the far side of another galaxy in space, you’ve obviously heard about the latest mixtape to be released by Hamburger Helper.

That’s right: Hamburger Mothertruckin’ Helper.

If you want to talk about boring products, boy are they the peak.

I am hard pressed to imagine a brand more boring than economy noodles, noodles so economy that they don’t even include the meat, noodles so economy that they assume you’ll basically get the unhealthiest meat you can get and still call it meat.

They are not what most would consider an exciting brand.

They’re not Apple. They’re not SpaceX. They’re not Tesla. They’re not Google.

But they just released an Apple-sized content marketing campaign (well, maybe not Apple-sized, but definitely Apple quality)

However, their content marketing campaign wasn’t exactly what you expect. It came in the form of a—


Yes. A mixtape. As in a mixtape of rap. As in awesome. As in how the hell did a noodle company ever come up with this?

As in way, way, way hipper than you ever imagined Hamburger Helper ever could be in the history of ever.

Here’s the album. It’s totally legit. Listen to the awesomeness, then come back.

Did you check it out? It’s pretty damn good, right?!

My favorite part about all this is they got real hip hop artists to do this—they didn’t just make something up that was cheesy or stupid (though, I’ll admit, it might not be your taste in music).

Even the branding was mockingly on point—the Helper Hand is LITERALLY dripping in gold (and it’s probably gold sauce now that I think about it).

My point is this—this could have been done very, very poorly. It could have been the most cringetastic piece of marketing nightmare that you’ve ever had to misfortune of listening to.

Instead, it was a huge success by any measure. The top song has over 700 comments and well over 5 MILLION listens.

This is How Content Marketing Works

What makes this so extraordinary is how hugely popular this was.

It was supposed to be a joke!

Just look at the date on the songs—April 1st.

Instead, it’s the most fire mixtape of 2016.

This is probably the best April Fools joke I’ve ever seen. And it’s brought a huge amount of awareness to a brand that is basically a commodity.

Instead of annoying, interruptive, worthless commercials that I ignore while waiting for my YouTube video to load, instead of stupid videos of those creepy hands trying to convince me I need cheap noodles, they made some awesome music.

I’ve listened to these songs probably a dozen times—I wouldn’t mind paying money for at least one of these songs.

And now I’ve got Hamburger Helper on my brain.

Instead of forcing their message down my throat, they created something that drew me to them.

They got me excited about their brand—about freakin’ Hamburger Helper! That’s about a once-in-a-decade occ3urrence (sometimes, I just really need me some Hamburger Helper ok?)

That’s exactly how content marketing is supposed to work. You create something that people want that also promotes your brand. It can be funny, clever, helpful, informative—and it can sell a bit. But all content marketing has one thing in common:

It’s not there for the brand—it’s there for the customer.

Adam Fout

Adam might be a little crazy, but we love him anyway.   Weaving beautiful paragraph-baskets into blog posts ain’t easy, but we couldn’t think of a better job for a recovering tech writer.   Follow him on Twitter @adamfout2, LinkedIn, Facebook, or our blog if you like valuable information accompanied by snarky simplifications of complex subjects.


  1. Clement on May 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Great example of an out of the box marketing strategy.

    As you say, you can create an viral marketing strategy with even the most boring brand.

    I wonder if the Wu-Tang Clan would be interested in rapping about my latest blog post.

    • Adam Fout on May 12, 2016 at 10:37 am

      LOL only if you sold it for $2M to a single buyer, preferably a pharmacy executive.

  2. Tess Wittler on May 12, 2016 at 8:24 am

    This: “Instead of forcing their message down my throat, they created something that drew me to them.”

    Great post, Adam!

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