BurgerKing; The Whopper Comes A Cropper

James Wood - 08.07.2021

As a disruptor agency, we at Fireworx have loved some of the work that Burger King have put out in the past. Other than directional POS, it’s rarely for everyone, but it certainly stimulates discussion and keeps the brand front-of-mind. Take 2020’s Mouldy Whopper campaign, featuring a decomposing burger. Many expressed revulsion and disgust, declaring that they’d never touch a whopper ever again, but the message was clear. Burger King’s offering has got healthier, with fewer additives and preservatives. And as we’re still talking about it a year later, it passes the FMCG recall measure for what good looks like!

International Womens Day Campaign, March 2021

The campaign kicked off with an extremely provocative intro, before qualifying shortly after;

Unfortunately for BK, few viewers got beyond the initial post before drawing their conclusions on the brands intent. They were forced into a quick come down, issuing an apology.

The campaign was probably designed as a single execution, where the punchline was delivered as a direct pay off to the extremely provocative opening line. And to be fair, it works well in that format; capturing attention before immediately imparting the information the brand wished to share.

Unfortunately for Burger King, the lasting impression they left with the majority of Twitter users was a negative one, and the lesson learnt by marketers was that campaigns need to be adaptive in the digital era, with a ‘one size fits all’ approach no longer feasible.

Disruption or Distraction?

As a disruptor agency ourselves, we at FWX know that there’s often a fine line when developing a new concept. We need to disrupt what consumers are expecting from an ad, we need to engage and we need to compel them to think differently…but for the right reasons. In this instance an already very borderline joke went wrong in the execution, and the laughs were on BurgerKing.

Rather than talking about a laudable job scheme, empowering female head chefs, Fernando Machado (the BK Chief Marketing Officer) had to spend his time making a humbling climbdown and apology.

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