Showing posts with label Burger King. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Burger King. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 21

Killing Awareness: Long Live The King

How much would you spend to send the wrong message? It's a question Burger King might be asking.

For years, Burger King has relied on gimmicks to game its awareness, going so far as delivering one of the least appetizing fast food commercials in history. Most of it, of course, featured the frozen stare of an oversized Burger King "King" head. That is, until Burger King decided to do something different.

The King Is Dead. Long Live The King.

When the first "Kingless" commercial broke, plenty of industry people had opinions. Most of them said it didn't distinguish itself in the marketplace place enough. But according to the BrandIndex, Burger King's "Kingless" advertisements are scoring higher than they have in recent history. People like the new ads.

The new ads, featuring a clean food-centric spot with fresh ingredients to introduce the new California Whopper, have given Burger King a huge perception boost among burger buyers. And while some skeptics suggest that Burger King needs more than positive perception to gain any ground against McDonald's (50 percent market share vs. 13.9 percent), the campaign is clearly off to a good start compared to the well-known but negative perception generating King.

Awareness Works. But Only With The Right Message.

There are plenty of advertising colleagues who think the ad is a bore. And there are some who argue that market research is paying off. And then there are those who say it doesn't matter until Burger King cleans up its stores. So who's right?

All of them. And none of them. Advertising is not a take-it-or-leave-it net sum game among advertising executives. It's a take-it-or-leave-it net sum game among consumers.

While the advertising is arguably boring, it seems to resonate among consumers much more than their former spots. As a first spot, McGarryBowen did the right thing. The contrast isn't between Burger King and other burger joints as much as it's a contrast between what was their marketing and what will be.

Instead of selling a clown-like king, Burger King wants to sell burgers. And for the first time in a long time, one of its commercials made me think of food instead of losing my appetite. That has to count for something.

It also counts toward how awareness really needs to be measured — as part of a more complete formula. It never did Burger King any good to be the most talked about quick service joint no one wanted to eat at. And, reflecting back on the King pole dancing, the brunt of their own joke.

Anybody Can Get A Webcam And Make Monkey Faces.

Webcam 101 for Seniors... captured 7.3 million views. I think that's great. It's a cute video.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean you want to make this video your advertisement. Or that this couple ought to head up your marketing team next week. Or that this video exemplifies a viral video.

More importantly, think of some of the decisions made by Burger King while it was supporting its long series of king/clown commercials. Every time a new advertisement launched, it temporarily moved the sales needle while quietly shrinking market share and inspiring hate groups. The King was creepy.

Thursday, December 10

Perverting Ads: Burger King And CBS

Not to be completely upstaged by the recent perversion of Frosty The Snowman by CBS in the U.S., Burger King is trying to sell breakfast food in the United Kingdom with a bikini-clad "babe" singing in the shower.

Except, she's not much of a babe. She can't really sing. And the bikini top — decorated with eggs, burgers, or other toppings as decided upon by site visitors — won't make you hungry.

If the singing wasn't bad enough, visitors can win a date with her. Burger King teases their intent by offering up that "you never know, it just might be the start of something beautiful (and she might even sing for you)!"

Dubbed as the first "guilt-free showercam," Cow PR seems to be following in the footsteps of Crispin Porter & Bogusky in trying anything to sell products that just don't stand on their own. The message is loud and out of tune: if the food sucks, punt with a publicity stunt.

Low Brow Comedy, Sex, And Publicity Is A Recipe For Disaster.

Although the Burger King stunt is still one rung up from the gutter that CBS created by re-dubbing a vintage clip of Frosty so he talks about his “porn collection” while surrounded by crowds of smiling minors, the direction is the same. Too many marketers and advertisers are still struggling in their attempts to exploit consumers and force viral campaigns at the expense of the brand.

Sorry. It's just not funny. What might be funny?

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, could talk about his porn collection. Or, perhaps, John Chidsey, CEO of Burger King, could sing in the shower every morning.

That's what it's all about, right? Both ads would easily go viral and generate a whopper of publicity. They still might be tasteless, but at least we could see the faces behind the marketing funds that make these debacles possible.

Thursday, December 11

Gambling On Viral: "Whopper Virgins"

Although the Motrin viral marketing campaign is slowly fading from memory, viral advertising is not. There are plenty of companies willing to play the sometimes high stakes game of pushing marketing as opposed to products with the hope it might go viral.

According to Ad Age, Burger King's "Whopper Virgins" video is slowly going viral, but still slower than the fast food chain had hoped (which might explain the recent public relations support). The "Whopper Virgins" concept was to take the Whopper on a world tour, documentary style, where people who have never seen a hamburger could taste a Big Mac and Whopper.

"Whopper Virgins" is the second viral video that Burger King has attempted. The first, "Whopper Freakout", captured reactions from customers visiting a Burger King without Whoppers. It had limited success. The new video is better conceived, but it comes at a different price. Some people are annoyed by it.

Pushed by Burger King super fans — loyalist customers — "Whopper Virgins" is being seeded on various online video sites. The agency also claims teaser videos prompted a successful start, but based on YouTube counts and comments, it doesn't seem likely. While one teaser had 49,000 views, another only had 300. Some random comments left on the former:

"Lame, arrogant commercial - their website is even worse. It's an embarrassment."

"This video is to exploit indigenous people."

"I don't look at this commercial as offensive at all. I'm glad and proud to see that Hmong people are, probably for the very first time, being featured on mainstream TV."

Cathy Erway, writing for The Huffington Post, summed: "But most of all, you get a classic story of American corporate colonialism, sickly masked in that all-too-proud illusion of goodwill." Caitlin Fitzsimmons, writing for the Guardian, wrote: "It's either a fun and original ad or yet another example of the crass exploitation of the world's indigenous people." And Michael Lebowitz said: "I'm not always the biggest fan of Crispin Porter & Bogusky's work, but what they've been doing for Burger King is impressive."

Good, bad, indifferent?

PRWeek suggests that all buzz is perfectly all right given that using controversial ads can help boost a brand. And in many cases, that is the only intent of viral marketing: create some controversy, get some buzz, and hope that translates into "something" later on. If it doesn't work out, you can always say you're sorry.

So what kind of advertising is likely to go viral? As B.L. Ochman, Ad Age, recently offered up (paraphrased):

• Advertising that is funny, shocking, intriguing, or surprising.
• Ideas that customers can relate to and care about.
• A clear-cut message so people are able to pass it on.
• An easy way to pass it on such as link, embedding code, "share this" button, etc.
• A concept that builds relationships with customers by getting them to interact with others.

The caveat is that viral advertising isn't viral until it's passed on by the public. And, of course, not everyone agrees with on what measurable outcomes make for a viral success.

At the end of the day, someone has to ask if "Whopper Virgins" made people want to eat a Whopper (because it certainly didn't convince anyone that the taste test was authentic). Or, someone might even ask who really won — Burger King or Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the agency that produced it? Hmmm...

Is the new objective of marketing to market the marketing by encouraging super fans to push the marketing creative simply with the hope it goes viral based on, er, online views and perhaps start a controversial conversation? Some people seem to think so.

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