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AC Barbeque, founded by Hollywood actors and comedy kings, Cedric the Entertainer and Anthony Anderson, celebrates Black community barbeque traditions through its authentic products and engaging cultural narratives.

The origin of AC Barbeque is deeply interwoven with the personal histories and friendship of Cedric the Entertainer and Anthony Anderson, both of whom share a profound love for barbeque—a love that traces back to their respective childhoods in Missouri and California. “Barbeque has always been more than just food for us; it’s a celebration, a way to gather people, to laugh and share stories. When Anthony and I talked about starting AC Barbeque, it was with the intent of capturing that spirit, that joyous tradition that’s been a part of our lives since childhood,” says Cedric. This shared passion, nurtured over years of personal and professional camaraderie, eventually evolved into the idea for AC Barbeque. The concept was to create a brand that not only offered high-quality barbeque products but also celebrated the rich cultural heritage of barbeque within the Black community, echoing the traditions that both celebrities cherished growing up.

Cedric and Anthony envisioned AC Barbeque as more than a culinary venture; they saw it as an extension of their own living rooms, where stories, laughter, and good food are shared among family and friends. This vision was rooted in the belief that barbeque, more than just a method of cooking, is a communal event that can bring people together, bridging generations and cultures. To bring this vision to life, they needed a marketing partner who could understand and translate this cultural narrative into a successful brand strategy. This is where Hawke Media entered the picture.

Hawke Media was selected for their notable expertise in building impactful digital and traditional marketing campaigns, particularly for brands looking to carve out a niche in a saturated market. When approached by Cedric and Anthony, Hawke Media recognized the unique opportunity to craft a marketing strategy that was as much about storytelling as it was about selling a product. The collaboration was anchored on mutual respect for the cultural importance of the project, with Hawke Media deeply appreciating the need to handle the marketing in a way that honored the traditions and values at the heart of AC Barbeque. Hawke Media CEO & Founder, Erik Huberman, saw partnering with Cedric and Anthony as “an opportunity to do something truly unique in the space. They brought not only their personal passion for barbeque but a deep respect for its cultural roots. At Hawke Media, our goal was to tell that story, to build a brand that felt authentic and resonant, not just commercially successful.”

The relationship between AC Barbeque and Hawke Media was built on this foundation of shared values and goals. Hawke Media’s role extended beyond typical marketing activities; they were instrumental in crafting the narrative that would resonate with the audience on a deeper level. This involved developing content that highlighted the history of barbeque in the Black community, showcasing how it is an art form passed down through generations, and illustrating the ways in which Cedric and Anthony’s personal stories were a testament to this tradition.

To effectively tell this story, Hawke Media leveraged a variety of platforms and tactics. They designed a multi-channel marketing campaign that included engaging social media content, partnerships with influencers who could authentically speak to the cultural aspects of barbeque, and strategic PR moves that placed Cedric and Anthony at the forefront of the narrative. They also orchestrated the integration of this story into the “Kings of BBQ” show, ensuring that each episode not only entertained but also educated viewers about the cultural significance of barbeque.

Through their collaboration, Hawke Media and AC Barbeque managed to create a brand that was true to the founders’ roots and resonated with a broad audience, turning AC Barbeque into a symbol of community and cultural pride. This partnership highlighted the power of aligning a brand with authentic stories and genuine relationships, setting a new standard for how brands could connect with their audiences on a meaningful level.

The Challenge

The primary challenge was multifaceted and profound. It was about more than just marketing a new brand; it was about telling a story that was deeply rooted in Black culture. Cedric and Anthony, both of whom cherished their barbecue-laden childhoods filled with family gatherings and laughter, wanted to transform this personal passion into a cultural showcase. They sought to not only share their love for barbecue but also to highlight its integral role in Black community bonding and tradition. The task for Hawke Media was to transcend conventional advertising, weaving the rich tapestry of this heritage into a narrative that would take hold nationally across diverse demographics.


  • Celebrate barbeque as a culturally rich tradition tied deeply to Black heritage.
  • Engage a diverse audience that includes die-hard BBQ fans, admirers of the celebrities, and those interested in cultural stories.
  • Position the brand and the show as authentic and influential platforms for showcasing Black excellence through culinary traditions.

The Strategy

To achieve this, Hawke Media crafted a holistic strategy centered around the show “Kings of BBQ,” aired on A&E and Hulu. This platform was chosen for its broad reach and its ability to engage a wide audience with storytelling. The marketing campaign was designed to be immersive, utilizing a blend of traditional media outreach and dynamic digital engagement. Social media campaigns were launched with fervor, filled with anecdotes from the show, snippets of barbecue history, and personal stories from Cedric and Anthony. These narratives were supported by collaborations with influencers from the culinary and cultural sectors, further amplifying the show’s authenticity and reach.


  • Partnership Strategy: Collaborated with A&E for airing “Kings of BBQ,” leveraging the network’s reach to ensure the show accessed a wide and diverse audience.
  • Content Marketing: Developed a content strategy that emphasized the storytelling of Cedric’s and Anthony’s personal and community ties to BBQ, linking these stories to the broader narrative of Black cultural history.
  • Digital Campaigns: Executed targeted social media campaigns across platforms like Instagram and TikTok to build hype around the show’s premiere and maintain engagement with behind-the-scenes content, celebrity insights, and fan interactions.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Partnered with influencers from the culinary world and those who focus on Black culture and history, enhancing the show’s authenticity and reach.

The Execution

As the show gained traction, Hawke Media closely monitored audience feedback, adapting their strategies in real-time. This involved increasing the focus on community-driven content, where the audience could see the real impact of barbecue traditions being celebrated across the country. Special emphasis was placed on hosting live events and cookouts that not only promoted the AC Barbeque brand but also engaged communities in genuine and meaningful ways. These events were supplemented by strategic partnerships with retailers like Walmart, which helped place AC Barbeque products directly into the heart of American homes.


  • Community Engagement: Organized community BBQ events that featured live demonstrations and tastings to create a tangible experience of the brand and deepen the cultural connection.
  • Retail Partnerships: Secured a nationwide placement in Walmart, supported by point-of-sale promotions and exclusive in-store events that highlighted the uniqueness of AC Barbeque’s offerings.
  • Enhanced Digital Presence: Ramped up the creation of digital content that included detailed explorations of BBQ styles from different regions, interviews with pitmasters, and interactive sessions with the celebrities.

The Outcomes

The results were as flavorful as the barbecues themselves. “Kings of BBQ” quickly became a favorite, drawing viewers into its rich narrative and authentic exploration of barbecue’s cultural significance. The show maintained strong ratings, indicative of its resonance with the audience. On the product side, AC Barbeque saw its spices and sauces being picked up by over 2,200 Walmart stores nationwide—a testament to the brand’s appeal and strategic retail placements. Social media platforms showed significant growth; Instagram and TikTok numbers surged, reflecting the compelling content and the genuine connection the audience felt with the brand. This growth wasn’t just in numbers but in the depth of engagement that customers expressed through their interactions.

In weaving this narrative, Hawke Media not only met its initial goals but also set a new standard in how stories of cultural significance can be effectively told through celebrity-driven brands. This campaign demonstrated the power of marketing when it goes beyond selling a product and instead celebrates and honors a cultural legacy.


  • Walmart Locations Carrying AC Barbeque Products

  • Increase in Instragram Followers

  • Increase in TikTok Followers

  • Brand Lift in Target Demographic