The Whopper is Burger King’s prize asset. It is to the brand what the Big Mac is to McDonald’s. It is their signature burger, so the company has caused quite a stir recently by featuring the product in a far from flattering light.
The advert shows the burger having been left for 34 days. It has done this to highlight the fact that it has removed all artificial preservatives from it. The decision to focus on the nutritional value of the burger is admirable, but was their advertising choice foolhardy?
Brave new world
Ultimately the company has received a fair amount of praise for their decision. The advertising campaign has been heralded by some. They claim it shows that the company really doesn’t care about consumerism. Giving them a more edgy vibe. Plus as the old adage goes there is no such thing as bad publicity!
Learning from the past
The campaign may be a response to the viral videos that surfaced last year that showed how certain brands weren’t being entirely honest about the ingredients being used in their adverts. Using products like shaving cream, and even engine oil to portray a tasty looking burger. This campaign is a radically different approach.
Love or hate the campaign you surely can’t help but appreciate a company being honest with their customers. Let’s be brutally honest, all food goes off. You can’t help but wonder if there is an underlying “middle finger” being waved in the direction of the Golden Arches, whose food, folklore dictates, doesn’t “go off” due to its vast use of preservatives.
Controversy creates cash
A lof of senior advertisers are lauding praise on the approach. Suggesting that whether or not it makes you want a Whopper or not it is putting the brand in your consciousness. And it is that mentality and the riskiness of the campaign that has prompted the likes of David Proudlock, the head of strategy for CPB London to say, “more brands should take risks like this”
But is it a bit much?
Here is the counter argument though. This campaign is always going to be divisive and because of that, it will never be able to be heralded as a total success. Ultimately it will gross some people out. I didn’t see the image and instantly think, you know what I fancy a Burger King. What it has done is get people talking about their brand, but in the same breath, they are talking about their rivals too.
In your face
If you are resident of the UK you have seen the competition advertising how they use fresh produce, but this is a very radical approach. This isn’t just a case of a company sticking some kind of seal of approval on their packaging, this is a company saying “our food is so natural it rots” and by extension, they are also posing the question, “does yours”?
This is not the first time that Burger King has indirectly, and cleverly thrown shade at their rivals. Who can forget the time they trolled their rivals by claiming that there was a Big Mac behind every one of their burgers in their advertising campaigns. The insinuation that Burger King’s burgers are bigger (as a rule they are!)
Only time and revenue will show if the approach works. There is a tendency, especially in the UK to play it safe when it comes to advertising. In the US campaigns are far more likely to call out their rivals, but British advertising, as a rule, tends to focus on promoting your own brand rather than trashing the competition. Could all the be changing though? We shall see.