Welcome to the Will It Stick Podcast with Alexis and Melissa! Don’t miss the amazing marketing movements and unique brand stunts discussed here. In today’s episode, they take a look at Burger King.

Burger King was established in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida by Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns. Inspired by the huge success of Mcdonald’s, the two relatives built a stove called the Insta Broiler to cook their burgers which became the company’s big claim to fame. In 2020, Burger King made $1.6 million in revenue, which is a decline in sales for the company. So, what’s their secret for success? (Hint: it’s their marketing.)

Burger King: Home of the Whopper – Credit: Wall Street Journal

Burger King should be renamed the Slogan King because of how many slogans they’ve had, the most memorable ones being “Home of the Whopper” and “Have it Your Way”. In 1986, they adopted a new slogan “Where’s Herb?” to accompany a TV commercial featuring the character Herb who supposedly had never eaten at Burger King before. The company called on fans to visit their local Burger King in hopes of finding Herb for a $5,000 prize. The stunt ended up confusing many participants and was a total flop.

In 2018, BK hosted a promo in which anyone who dressed up as a creepy clown on Halloween night got a free Whopper. The promo was in conjunction with the movie It and took a jab at their biggest mascot competition, Ronald McDonald. #ScaryClownNight was mentioned in over 1,100 articles in 40 countries, reaching 2.1 billion impressions and media value of 22 million and sales increased by 15% on Halloween night.

#ScaryClownNight – Credit: Adsoftheworld.com

Two years later, they debuted “The King of Stream” to take advantage of video gamer platform Twitch. They created a bot to randomly donate $5 to various Twitch streamers which then left a comment advertising Burger King’s latest deals. The genius idea did not go as planned and really pissed off many gamers who felt spammed by the comments.

The King of Stream – Credit: Ad Age

In August 2017, Burger King took to LinkedIn to connect with users via “Whopper Severance”. In the stunt, they offered one of 2,500 “Whopper Severance” packages to anyone on LinkedIn willing to publicly post the message “I got fired. I want a free Whopper. #WhopperSeverance.” Within one day, all of the available packages were gone. Fast food chains almost have to pull crazy stunts to stay relevant.

Whopper Severance – Credit: Business Wire

In 2018, Burger King launched the Whopper Detour campaign which was a geofencing campaign and featured a promotion that was unlocked whenever users would come within 600 feet of a McDonald’s restaurant. They did this at 14,000 McDonald’s locations across the U.S. for 9 days. So basically, all McDonald’s customers would get targeted and prompted to download the app and they would be awarded a free Whopper. And the results are INSANE.

Whopper Detour Campaign – Source: Media Post

Even though Burger King falls short compared to McDonald’s from a sales perspective, their marketing is much cooler.

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Resources:

Links:

Burger King’s cheeky Clown-Themed Halloween ads by Business Insider.

Twitch streamers furious at Burger King by BBC.

Burger King in a pickle after Ogilvy campaign backlash by AFK Creators

#WhopperSeverance by AdWeek.

Burger King’s Wikipedia page.  

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