Last week Anthony, Sasha and I visited Australia’s very first Advertising Week at Luna Park, Sydney. We kicked off the day with Burger King’s global CMO, Fernando Machado. With so many huge competitors in the fast food industry, Burger King needed to find a way to be innovative and push the creative boundaries in their marketing campaigns.
What can we learn from Burger King’s marketing strategy?
1. Understand your brand and identify what set’s you apart from your competitors
Burger King prides themselves on their ‘flame grill’ style of cooking, with each and every patty having a unique and individual set of grill marks. They like to be raw and real with their customers, speaking with them at eye level. They believe they are perfectly imperfect – Not everything is glossy, shiny and clean.
2. Be edgy and different
Being boring benefits the category, not your brand. Burger King did exactly that last halloween, when they offered a free Whopper for anyone who came into the restaurant dressed as a clown. The campaign had 2.1 billion impressions online and $22.4 million USD in earned media. In 1 night across 25 countries and 1500+ restaurants, foot traffic increased by 21% with over 110,000 clowns. Even though they all got a free whopper, global sales increased up to 15%
3. Keep the brief simple
Keeping the brief short, sharp and insightful will allow for the idea to grow. Some of Burger King’s briefs are “Let’s encourage people to be their way,” “Because fire is better” and “Showcase Whopper love.” Here are some of the outcomes of short briefs:
Former house of retired McDonald’s president
Burger King made a series of ads that showcased the patios of previous homes owned by McDonalds executives in order to prove they all had grills.
Whopper No Show
In Romania, the only Burger King restaurant is located in Bucharest airport. This campaign persuaded people to book flights but deliberately miss them in order to eat a Whopper.
The Chocolate Whopper April fools prank gained 3.1 billion global impressions, $18 million USD in earned media and had media outlets and social media platforms across the world frenzied.
Burger King managed to draw attention to bullying in a sensitive, yet humorous way that sheds a positive light on the brand.
4. Trust uncertainty
The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all. It’s a good thing not to know how to do something, or not know if it will work, as it proves you have never done it before. Campaigns should have voltage and make the audience feel something. One of the biggest campaigns was a 15 second TV ad that activated Google Home technology. Within a few hours of the ad’s release, Google blocked the voice of the actor, hence stopping the device from activating. Burger King overcame this and released another set of ads – this time altering the pitch of the actor’s voice in each ad.