Posts Tagged ‘Burger King’

The King Is Dead. Long Live…McDonalds?!?

May 18th, 2009

A few weeks ago I ranted about Burger King’s latest horrendous TV ad in a post titled, “I Hate Bad Ads and I Cannot Lie.” I must admit that I just took some pleasure in reading an article titled “A Royal Headache at Burger King” in the May 25, 2009 Business Week. Among the many marketing gaffes cited by the article is the SpongeBobSquarePants ad that was the source of my ire. Now, as a result of this and other marketing misjudgments by Burger King and its ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Burger King’s sales are suffering while competitor McDonalds is experiencing relatively healthy growth.

Burger King’s franchisees are particularly furious about the SpongeBob ad, which prompted 10,000 letters from angry consumers (not to mention one post from an angry blogger) and failed to boost sales despite a big advertising budget.

To be fair to Burger King, any successful company has to take risks, and that sometimes includes running ads that at first blush might seem inappropriate but eventually have a positive impact. The key, however, is to be able to differentiate between those risks that are likely to pay off and those that will likely bomb. Unfortunately, Burger King and its agency have not been demonstrating that particular skill of late, and their franchisees and stockholders are now paying the price.

Nothin’ But Net!

April 6th, 2009

As I was ranting about the latest Burger King advertising disaster during the NCAA championship basketball game, I saw two other ads that more than made up for that sad experience.  One was a brilliant ad featuring classic college basketball footage of Bill Walton, Dwayne Wade, Michael Jordan and others while legendary coach John Wooden recites a touching poem about the importance of not disappointing those who look up to you. The ad does one thing I normally don’t like–it doesn’t reveal the advertised brand until the very end of the spot–but the ad is so engrossing that it makes you want to see what wonderful advertiser has entertained you so richly. (It was Gatorade, by the way.)

The other ad was for Guitar Hero and featured current and former college coaches Bobby Knight, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Digger Phelps wearing guitars, dressed in long-sleeved shirts and underwear ala Tom Cruise in “Risky Business”, and engaged in a lively debate with the heavy metal band Metallica. It very effectively made the point that Metallica’s music is now available for Guitar Hero, while making you laugh out loud in the process.

And unlike the inane Burger King Kids Meal ad, both the Gatorade and Guitar Hero ads made perfect sense sponsoring a college basketball game. In other words, while Burger King shot yet another air ball, Gatorade and Guitar Hero hit nothin’ but net!

I Hate Bad Ads and I Cannot Lie

April 6th, 2009

Who’s minding the store at Burger King?  During halftime of the NCAA championship basketball game I had the deep misfortune of being exposed to their latest trainwreck of a TV commercial. It’s hard to say what was more moronic: the fact that they were advertising a Kids Meal product at 10:25 pm Eastern time, or the utter tastelessness of the advertisement.

The opening line of this kid-targeted ad is “I love square butts and I cannot lie.”  The last line is “Booty is booty.”  In between there’s a bunch of rapping by the most unimaginative mascot in the advertising industry, and a plethora of young women shaking their square butts in a misguided homage to Square Bob Sponge Pants.

I can’t for the life of me tell what audience Burger King is targeting. If it’s kids, that’s shameful. if it’s parents, that’s idiotic. About the only plausible explanation I can come up with is that Burger King’s advertising agency was trying to entertain their twenty-something friends. And if that’s the case, all I can say is they need to find new friends…and that Burger King needs to find a new advertising agency.

Surprised? Yeah.

January 10th, 2009

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I just saw an excellent commercial from a company I blasted in a recent posting:  Burger King.  The ad was for a new, apparently very hot-and-spicy sandwich called the “Angry Whopper”, and it’s superb.  First of all, I love the product’s name.  The word “angry” is unexpected, edgy, full of personality, and–to use my favorite word–provocative.  The visual shots of the product look very appetizing, and the end of the spot–featuring a customer who has just taken a bite of his Angry Whopper filling his mouth under the ice machine–is not just funny but strategic.  I love the fact that the last thing you see is a powerful reinforcement of the product’s #1 benefit.

The strategic superiority of this commercial to Burger King’s commercial showing hamburger “virgins” preferring the Whopper over McDonald’s Big Mac cannot be overstated.  The latter takes a cheap shot at a competitor that has cleaned Burger King’s clock in the marketplace for decades; the former sings the praises of a truly unique new product without calling attention to or insulting the competition.
I suspect that this Angry Whopper commercial will make Burger King management and stockholders very happy.

Burger King Tells a Whopper!

December 16th, 2008

Have you seen the latest Burger King campaign, which depicts a Whopper-versus-Big Mac taste test conducted among remote Chang Mai villagers who had never seen or eaten a hamburger before?  It’s just the latest less-than-tasty advertising morsel from this also-ran chain.  I have three problems with this campaign.  First, I have no respect for advertisers who resort to attacking their competitors because they are clever enough to find a way to simply and compellingly sing the praises of their own product.  Second, if you devote a moment’s thought to this ad, you have to say to yourself, “Okay, you’re telling me that people with absolutely no expertise in what constitutes a good hamburger prefer the Whopper to the Big Mac.  Big whoop.”  Third, I read an article today in which Russ Klein, Burger King’s president of global marketing strategy, said, “During a time when consumers are craving it most, honesty and transparency are the heart and sould of this campaign.  By embarking on a voyage of this magnitude that held no guarantees and left us upen to vulnerabilities, we took a leap of faith that our signature product would win people over at first bite.”

Oh really?  So you’re saying that had the Big Mac won the taste test, you would have run the ad regardless, thereby confessing to the world that your Whopper was defeated by your “arch” rival?  Gee, call me a skeptic, but somehow I doubt it. “Honesty and transparency”?  C’mon, Mr. Klein.  Don’t compound the situation by insulting our intelligence any more than your advertising already has.