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This month, the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. began offering Sip & Slurp: a room service package letting guests partake in the mukbang livestreaming phenomenon. Mukbang, originating in South Korea, involves influencers streaming themselves as they gorge on massive quantities of food. For USD 285, guests receive a feast – consisting of (among many other things) lobster tails, filet mignon, cherry pie, and the hotel’s Big Belly burger – as well as a lapel mic and cell phone stand. The W Hotels filmed its first mukbang delivery with Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski. The Sip & Slurp package will be available to order until the end of the year and may be offered at other W Hotels in the future.

Yes, it’s a shameless marketing stunt. And yes, it is hardly the most life-enhancing, planet-saving innovation we’ll ever feature. But hey, it’s Friday and it is a clever move, rich in trend #inspo. Let’s break it down: 

Ridiculous? Or relevant? The TrendWatching team have been watching the mukbang phenomenon since Acacia Leroy, our Head of Trends for Asia-Pacific introduced it to us! And if you’d joined our 2016 events, you’d have heard all about it, too (shameless plug: we’re about to host another series of trend events on The Trends for 2020 shortly... join us to discover which Asian social media behaviours your competitors will be embracing in 2020! ;) 

Back to mukbang. You might find it ridiculous. Audiences laughed at Acacia’s videos, our team included! Look past that. Mukbang helps people feel less alone. It helps them connect. There are eater-streamers raking in millions! For a hospitality brand like W Hotels, mukbang offers a great opportunity to reach a new audience. Similarly The Moxy offered its guests an ASMR room service experience. Of course these experiences won’t appeal to everyone. But quite frankly who cares?! 

Don’t simply dismiss the latest social media fad. Fads capture people’s attention for a reason. Dig into why. If they work for your brand, then don’t hold back. Celebrate them!

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