“It was all my fault,” said Jesse Frimmel, the drummer for Arrows in Action.
The Gainesville-based pop-rock band has shown a devotion to Hot Pockets via Twitter, and it has not gone unnoticed.
Their peculiar online relationship with the popular microwavable turnover brand can be traced back to late 2018, around the same time the band’s current lineup began playing together.
“We will eat a Hot Pocket on stage every show if we have to,” the tweet read, as they asked for a sponsorship.
Frimmel said the company would occasionally respond to their “weird, dumb” tweets with similar banter.
“One time I had a back-and-forth of like, eight tweets between me and Hot Pockets,” he said. “And then I was like, I can keep this up.”
Now, almost a year later, the saga continues. Hot Pockets recently sent the band a gift box filled with T-shirts and a plush Hot Pockets mascot.
Arrows in Action recorded a video unboxing the merch package, which they shared with over 2,000 Twitter followers who had been watching the situation evolve with piqued interest.
“Unofficially officially pen-pals,” Hot Pockets tweeted back with a red heart emoji.
To Arrows in Action, this exchange symbolizes the importance of maintaining an online presence.
“Getting bigger Twitter accounts to joke back with you is like the online equivalent of getting bigger shows,” guitarist Matt Fowler said.
Fowler said having an active Twitter account has allowed their followers to relate to them on a personal level and has even allowed for more show opportunities.
But he's emphasized that online interactions are more important than just managing a growing follower count.
“[It’s] proof that people like talking to you and think you’re funny and listen to your music,” Fowler said.
Victor Viramontes-Pattison, the band’s lead singer, said showcasing their personality is key to strengthening their audience.
“We’ll just post little funny things like Hot Pockets, which has nothing to do with our set or any tour dates. It’s just fun stuff like this,” he said. “[It becomes] a little bit more than just like, ‘Oh, I really like the music.’ But it’s also like, ‘They’re cool.’”
Bassist Tony Farah has been in Gainesville for over 20 years and has witnessed the digitalization of the local music scene firsthand. He remembers when handing out CDs was the primary method of getting people to listen to your music.
“There’s more competition,” he said, “because it’s so much easier to get your music and your name in front of people. Which I think just means you just have to be better. You have to work harder.”
“Hopefully the next time we get something directly from Twitter, it’ll be a show offer,” Fowler said. “But I’ll take free stuff from Hot Pockets.”