Some companies have become known for their advertising prowess. There is no doubt that Burger King has become one of these. For more than four years now the fast-food giant has showcased its creativity and quirkiness into events like Cannes Lions and various Grand Prix. Their performances in the marketing world also saw them pick up the coveted accolade of the creative marketer of the year back in 2017 thanks in part to the company’s CMO Fernando Machado.
Among their more creative ideas was the McWhopper concept which they dreamed up way back in 2015. It began as a letter in the New York Times offering a truce between themselves and long term, and fierce rivals McDonald’s. The dream was that the two companies would come together to produce a burger to celebrate Peace Day. The dream was a burger that combined the best parts of a Whopper and a Big Mac (surely that’s just a Whopper?)
Admittedly McDonald’s decided against joining forces, perhaps realising that their food just wasn’t as tasty? But regardless of their reluctance to get on board, the campaign helped Burger King score a massive 8.9 billion impressions. The campaign got them trending worldwide and all in all, netted Burger King 174 million.
It wasn’t just that campaign that gained them their gleaming reputation either. Their “google hack” campaign was a stroke of genius. It was so simple, a 15-second tv advert that triggered anybody who happened to have a Google Home device to tell them all about the Whopper Burger. So simple, but so clever. Their campaign, entitled ‘Google, Home of the Whopper’ did an impressive 9.3 million global impressions. The profit off the back was slightly less impressive at “just” 135 million but it has become one of the most talked-about advertising campaigns of the last decade.
Breaking the mode
And more recently the company broke the mode with their divisive campaign where they posted a picture of a mouldy burger. The campaign was certainly striking and was designed to highlight the fact that their burgers are using fresh ingredients, that they are not filled with preservatives. It was a brave move, most companies would shudder at the idea of portraying their food in such an unappealing way. But you have to think that it was at least partially throwing shade on McDonald’s, where there is a long-held urban myth that their food doesn’t rot because of the artificial nature of their food.
In fact, throwing shade at Maccy’s seems to be a pastime of Burger King. It is not that long ago they created a campaign where they secretly hid Big Macs behind all of their burgers in their advertising campaign, showing how much better value for money their burgers are.
Although if you quiz him on the companies marketing successes, Machado is equivocal on the companies creativity, commenting how “We hardly ever brief for an idea that works on X channel, we focus on having great ideas that deliver our brand and business objectives.”
Machado is quick to point out how the company is never being creative just for the sake of it. He states how the company has a clear set of objectives and a well-established brand and that they have clear key performance indicators. He described how when they are planning a new campaign how they set out exactly what they want to accomplish rather than putting the horse before the cart. Machado commented,
“We are not in the pursuit of random ideas. We’re in the pursuit of ideas that will link back to our business and brand strategy, which have clear targets and objectives. Not all campaigns will do everything, but they should be doing something in the direction of the objectives you have.”