Is Your Brand The Victim of the Cheeseburger Effect?
Peter Panda

A few weeks ago, I was leading a lunch and learn session about Twitter for the fine people of Elasticity because some of them desperately needed it. (Sorry, but it’s true — I love you all.) While covering best practices for photo usage on Twitter, I used the term “hamburger style” to describe the ideal photo size of 1200 x 600 pixels.

If you’re a millennial who attended elementary school, you most likely know exactly what I mean when I say hamburger style. This term was used by our (most likely) exhausted elementary school teachers to describe a specific way of folding paper. Hamburger style was wide and fat, and hot dog style was long and thin.


Why should you give a shit about paper folding methods? Well, let me tell you.

When you DON’T follow the rules and include photos of whatever size you damn well please in your tweets, something bad happens. The Cheeseburger Effect happens.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “What on Kanye’s good earth are you talking about?? Cheeseburgers are empirically the best, and there is nothing bad about them at all. This is downright anti-American!”

And to you I would say, please go ahead and chill the hell out. Cheeseburgers are great. But we’re talking Cheeseburger Effect here, you goons.

“OK, I’m listening. What is the Cheeseburger Effect?” you say, groveling to me.

Say your photo is a cheeseburger. When you post a picture outside of the desired 1200 x 600 size parameters, Twitter only includes the meat patty part of your photo in the tweet preview. That is to say, the top bun and bottom bun of your photo will be virtually cut off, and you’ll most likely be stuck with a very awkward crop of your photo. The only way to see the full shot is to click on the tweet or photo to expand it, and no one has time for that. I repeat: No one has time for that, because they most likely don’t care. If you want to get people to pay attention, make sure everything important is in the meat portion of the picture.



* Jesus, what have I become? Please forgive me, bread gods. Your Holy Carbi-ness, I beg for mercy.

If you’re not careful, the Cheeseburger Effect can have seriously detrimental results on that super cute photo of you and your friends. Depending on the cropping of the picture, you might be sending out a tweet with a pic that just looks like a row of people’s boobs and crotches. Congrats, you’re now a creep. I’m calling the Twitter police.

Here are a few examples of brands who didn’t follow the Cheeseburger Effect rule and looked like a bunch of dummies because of it. Let it be known that these brands don’t respect cheeseburgers and should be punished.


Wendy’s says they’ve made great BBQ easy to find. UM, NOT EXACTLY, WENDY. NOT EXACTLY. You can’t just take the picture you made for Facebook and slap it on Twitter, people! Have some respect.

Timex wanted us to see Keegan Allen (lol who?) geared up with a fancy af timepiece for his big red carpet moment, but what they showed us was a v. intense looking Keegan Allen coming at us while unbuttoning his shirt. This is memorable in the wrong way, Timex.

Putting your logo on your images is a great way to extend branding to your social posts. Unless you’re Visit Indiana and want people to think you put stickers on your ribs, that is, and that’s just rude to ribs tbh. They deserve to be treated better than that.


And … and what??? We’ll never know the killer punchline because you’re making us work for it. It doesn’t matter what your political orientation is, @NoGOPNo, memes don’t always translate.


But memes work if you create them. Right, Keeneland?! More like #FallforPoorFormatting, amirite?


So we can infer there’s a Pringles can holding the window open, or perhaps it’s laying next to a baby in the hot car??? Not to mention the horrendous manual retweet happening here. Good god, this whole tweet is an atrocity.


Nice job, Keds. Now it looks like you’ve got a teenage leg fetish. Keep your leggy youths out of my tl, sirs.


Jack Daniel’s doesn’t care if her legs are showing, apparently. Does that make this fetish worse? Also, HELLO CROTCH SHOT. That’s not the type of “meat” we’re talking about with the Cheeseburger Effect.


At least Jack Daniel’s is gender neutral on their leg focus. Not sure that mentioning a measurement while showing a man’s pelvis is “on brand,” but whatever floats your boat, Jack. I am enjoying this power crotch stance tho.


He may not be a brand, but Ray Kwong shows us how to come across looking like you enjoy men’s waistlines. It just screams, “CROTCH VS. CROTCH DEATH MATCH.”

Save yourself the pain, anguish and fetish counseling these poor brands faced by following the rules of avoiding the Cheeseburger Effect. Then go eat a cheeseburger because time is a flat, cheesy circle.


Editor’s Note: Folding illustration from Mary Amoson’s Sharing Kindergarten.

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

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