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Burger King’s Jousting For Supremacy

Owned by Canadian-US multinational fast food holding company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., the Burger King Company, founded in 1953 and headquartered in Miami-Dade County, Florida, had over seventeen thousand restaurant venues across the world in 2018.

In order to create their own, unique identity in a highly competitive global market of family-friendly, fast food restaurant chains, Burger King’s advertising often consists of brave and irreverent brand communication initiatives, with some notable successes.

This year they were crowned ‘Client of The Year’ at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as well as being royally lauded by The Clio Awards, The One Club for Creativity, and D&AD.

1. Burger King, Moldy Whopper

Burger King’s ‘Moldy Whopper’ brand campaign, for promoting a free of artificial preservatives burger offering, involved the collaboration of four advertising agencies:

INGO Stockholm, Sweden,

The David /Publicis Agency, Miami, USA

Publicis, Bucharest, Romania

Publicis, Madrid, Spain.

The D&AD Black Pencil award winning, time-lapse commercial, plays out against a very appropriate soundtrack of “What A Difference A Day Makes” by Aretha Franklin.

The pros and cons of the ‘Moldy Whopper’ became a cause célèbre on social media, and while, to use an irresistible pun, I admire the ‘mold breaking’ bravery of the communication, I must admit that I am probably in the minority camp of viewers who found the commercial unappealing.

In spite of its laudable, single-minded creativity, demonstrative visualisation and cognitive rationality, the absence of appetite appeal in the commercial fell short of sensory enticement for me.

2. Burger King, Cows Menu

Advertising Agency: We Believers, New York, USA

Directed by Michel Gondry, and starring 11 year-old Mason Ramsey, who once went viral for yodeling in Wal-Mart, this surreal commercial is about Burger King’s controversial initiative of teaming up with scientists in developing a new diet for cows to make them fart 33% less.

In a bizarrely entertaining music video with cows farting cotton wool clouds, diamante gas masks, and lemongrass hats, their ‘Reduced Methane Whopper’ promotion is centered on reducing the greenhouse impact on the way we eat.

3. Burger King, Whopper Detour

Advertising Agency: FCB, New York, USA

The Cannes 2019 Titanium Grand Prix ‘Whopper Detour’, involved creating a Burger King app that would unlock a 1-cent Whopper promotion only when people were physically within 600 feet of a McDonald’s.

The effective implementation of the technologically complicated innovation was additionally lauded with a Cannes Grand Prix for Mobile, and a Grand Prix award for Direct.

4. Burger King, Dogpper

Advertising Agency: La Despensa, Madrid, Spain

The concept of associating a dog snack with a Burger King Whopper may sound like a daft idea. However, the insight behind the ‘Dogpper’ promotional campaign for dog-owner consumers and their beloved canine family members, smilingly, strikes all the right notes.

Superbly directed by Martin Kalina, the commercial features a soundtrack of Willie Nelson’s Grammy Award-winning rendition of “Always on My Mind” and is a joy to view, even if one is not a dog owner.

5. Burger King, Chicken Fries Death Road

Advertising Agency: Buzzman, Paris, France

Directed by Christophe Deroo, this crazy ‘Mad Max’ duel between a Chicken and French Fries, has the two protagonists facing off against each other in an epic commercial for Burger King’s Crispy Pretzel Chicken Fries.

Available at only select Burger King outlets for a limited period, the digital campaign promotion is delightfully farcical and immensely entertaining.

6. Burger King, Cheese Lover Whopper

Advertising Agency: Buzzman, Paris, France

Burger King released their Cheese Lover Burgers with a warning for cheese haters in France, where cheese is king, that the only way to avoid their melted Emmental cheese and cheese sauce offering, would be to leave the country.

Directed by Fred De Loof, the commercial tells the highly amusing story of one such cheese hater who did exactly that and fled to a cheese-free paradise on the other side of world, where in time, he could be joined by a compatriot lucky enough to win a Burger King contest on Facebook.

7. Burger King, Whopper Secret

Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Heagarty (BBH), London, UK

Never afraid to challenge McDonald’s formidable supremacy, Burger King announced that they had ‘Whopper’ of a secret to reveal that places their competitor in their shade.

On ‘The Drum’ online portal, Ian Heartfield, chief creative officer at BBH London elaborated on the carefully planned secret.

“Placing our competitor’s product in our own ads throughout 2019 without anyone knowing has been one of the most fun ideas we have ever executed. It is of course just a good, old-fashioned product comparison idea, but it’s been brought bang up to date by some lateral thinking and rebellious media behaviour. We’re loving it.”

8. Burger King, Scary Clown Night

Advertising Agency: LOLA MullenLowe, Madrid, Spain

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Rodrigo Cortés, the ‘Scary Clown Night’ commercial was part on integrated Halloween promotion.

Burger King patrons, at selected franchise venues across Europe, and North America, were rewarded with free Whoppers for wearing clown costumes

The dark humour of Burger King’s Gold Clio award campaign, takes a dig at McDonald’s famed, party-loving clown icon, Ronald McDonald, by frivolously portraying clown figures to be as scary as the nightmare clown character in the horror film ‘IT’.

9. Burger King, Cinema Activation

Advertising Agency: LOLA MullenLowe, Madrid, Spain

At the launch in Germany of the horror film ‘IT’ based on Steven King’s novel about a macabre clown named Pennywise, Burger King had a surprise message for their captive cinema audience.