Ross Tucker calls it the “perfect storm of engagement.”
Take a food item that’s really popular regionally. Make sure it’s not well known nationally. Post your tribute to social media. And then watch the comments roll in…
Former NFL player turned entrepreneur and sports personality Ross Tucker says that his June 18 shoutout to Lebanon bologna is now his most viewed Facebook post ever. The post currently has upwards of 86,000 comments.
“I knew people would like it, but I didn’t know it would become what it became,” said Tucker. “It’s really something.”
Tucker explained: “It was the perfect combination of a lot of people who have no idea what it is – so they were all replying, ‘it’s salami’ or ‘that’s this’ – but then there are the people from central and eastern PA who were like, ‘oh, it’s Lebanon bologna!'”
The Pennsylvanians naturally needed to correct the folks who were confused – summer sausage was one popular alternative identification, a close relative to Lebanon bologna that lacks its quintessential tang – leading to an engagement loop just perfect for the Facebook algorithm.
Tucker said that growing up in Wyomissing, he ate Lebanon bologna a number of ways, from the classic simple snack of a piece of bologna and American cheese rolled together, to the most Central PA of hors d’oeuvre (Lebanon bologna and cream cheese, served with a toothpick – Tucker said he crushed about “a zillion of those things” at parties growing up), to the tried-and-true lunch of a bologna, American cheese, and spicy mustard sandwich. Tucker said that the picture was of classic, not sweet, Lebanon bologna.
Lebanon bologna behemoth Seltzer’s even reached out to Tucker after seeing the post go viral. Could we see a brand partnership between Tucker and Seltzer’s in the future? Tucker said it might not be a layup, with his audience more national and international than regional, but then again with Seltzer’s new beef jerky product now on the market, it could be the perfect time to introduce “Mr. Whiskers” to a larger audience – or even just a broader Pennsylvania audience, with lots of Keystone State attention sure to be on Tucker as we are now less than two weeks from the first Eagles preseason game.
The post has already led to Seltzer’s getting additional press coverage from TheTakeout.com, with the author saying that the post came across her feed when a relative commented on it. “Curiosity unlocked,” she wrote. “I quickly identified myself as the 99% and made it my mission to get myself out of that majority and into the elite.”
Her review? “Bottom line: if you are part of the 99% and haven’t had Lebanon bologna, it’s worth a try. I’m a convert, now part of the 1%, and in agreement with Lebanon, Pennsylvania, that it’s appropriate to lower a massive bologna on New Years Eve.”
Read More: The history of Lebanon’s Bologna Drop
Even Kerry Collins – who admittedly has a complicated relationship with Lebanon – took the opportunity to recognize the “GOAT lunch meat” after seeing Tucker’s tweet.
What’s up next to be highlighted in #TuckSpreads? Tucker said that he thinks scrapple would be a great food to highlight in the future.
“The other one you’re definitely going to see soon is pierogis,” said Tucker, noting that growing up it’s easy to think everyone eats the typically potato-filled dumplings.
“I didn’t realize until recently that pierogis are very regional as well.”
For Tucker, a big part of the fun with regional foods is the insight that if he thinks others are deprived of our hallmark delicacies, then he is likely also unaware of other regions’ favorite munchies. “It’s made me so nervous I’m missing out on other foods,” said Tucker.
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