2019’s Creative Campaigns #10 – ‘Not A Big Mac’

If there’s one fast food chain that’s renowned for its ‘rock-the-boat’ campaigns, it’s Burger King.

And I’m normally not a fan of brands slandering other brands – but this campaign is so ingenious that it’s hard not to applaud it. Amid a number of fabulous PR stunts comes another, and this time – it open fires at McDonald’s iconic ‘Big Mac’.

Of which, by the way, they just lost the trademark for.

Probably kicking themselves now, McDonald’s lost the copyright to the name ‘Big Mac’ after going after a small Irish-based restaurant named ‘Supermacs’ and inevitability being overruled in their legal proceedings with the EU. And what this left was an open playing field for their competitors to take advantage of – as Burger King did.

In a statement received by AFP, Supermac’s accused McDonald’s of “trademark bullying, registering brand names which are simply stored away in a war chest to use against future competitors”.

Their managing director, Pat McDonagh added: “we wholeheartedly welcome this judgement as a vindication of small businesses everywhere that stand up to powerful global entities” when discussing the ruling – fair do’s!

As a result of this, the ‘Not A Big Mac’ campaign was born. And the rest, as they say, was history.

What is the ‘Not A Big Mac’ campaign?

Speaking of their grasping of the opportunity to jump on the free-using of the term ‘Big Mac’, Iwo Zakowski, CEO of Burger King Sweden (the chain that’s been the main perpetrator of the project) said:

“McDonald’s just lost its trademark for the Big Mac for suing a much smaller player. It’s too much fun for us to stay away.”

They’re renowned, and entirely unapologetic, for being a little bit edgy and indecent in their PR and marketing – so of course one could predict that it was only a matter of time before the brand grasped any chance it could get to defame its main rivals.

All in good taste of course, but also with a slight hint of ruthlessness. (That I welcome in every aspect here).

I’ll take two orders of The Burger Big Mac Wished It Was, please.

Headed up by Burger King’s creative agency Ingo in Stockholm, their latest ad, depicts Burger King customers ordering from their ‘new’ menu at a restaurant in Sweden. Only the menu in question is just full dupe products inspired to put down it’s biggest competitor – the Big Mac.

Offerings include options such as ‘the kind of like a Big Mac but juicier and tastier’ and the appetising ‘like a Big Mac but actually big’ which is actually hilarious, in my opinion.

And if you’re McDonald’s – you have to take it in good humour, right?

None of the items on the menu – which appears to only be available in Sweden, FYI – are new by the way; just rebranded for the purposes of the marketing stunt. Which actually makes it all the more brilliant to me. It’s effortless but genius; and is the epitome of great PR.

Why this campaign, amongst the others, is great

This isn’t the first time that BK have been at the forefront of a great PR stunt. In fact, it was only last year that they rather candidly said “drive to your local McDonalds, then drive over to us instead and we’ll give you a free burger” in a witty bid to promote their new app.

Surprisingly not a joke but an actual product that BK ran with – the original whopper donning a black bun in true Halloween spirit.

Their transparent, yet admittedly very funny bashings of their top competitor isn’t where BK stop either.

Both their ghoulish black burger for Halloween, and ‘Chocolate Whopper’ April Fool’s prank showcased flawless product promotion and stunning creativity time and time again. And also showing they can be serious as well, the famed ‘beaten up Whopper Jnr.‘ stunt also went leaps and bounds in raising awareness of bullying and showed that brands can tackle tough topics too.

I wholeheartedly wish this wasn’t an April Fool’s stunt – look how amazing it looks.

Oh and let’s not forget their absolutely spot-on social media management. Quick-off-the-mark to make witty comments on anything and everything relevant – yet always funny, this brand is a true leader in marketing by every sense of the word.

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All in all, if I was to spend my time reminiscing and hyperlinking every successful campaign ever executed by BK and Ingo – I’d be here incessantly. So trust me when I say, this is a brilliantly innovative brand that effectively ‘nails it’ over and over again.

They’re certainly one to watch and have set the bar tremendously high for creativity in comms amongst fast-food chains and big brands alike.

There are two reasons why Burger King’s ‘Not A Big Mac’ crusade is brilliant, and they are…

  1. It’s such a simple idea, yet so perfect in execution – changing no products, only a sign in a few of their restaurants – this would have required minimal effort, but it’s received global coverage. This campaign is the perfect exemplar of how powerful a creative idea can be.
  2. It’ll drive sales – media relations is effective in its own right in raising brand awareness, but when your campaign itself is bound to drive justified footfalls – then that’s when you know it’s a winner. Though many are unknowingly influenced every day by PR and advertising alike, this campaign actually makes you want to head to your local Burger King (if you’re Switzerland based, that is) and buy a mock-Big Mac. That’s yet another reason why it’s simply iconic.
This is actually me after writing this blog post…

What do you think of Burger King’s latest? A little crass, or absolutely brilliant? Let me know in the comments below.

P.s. – Thank You!

pr marketing comms finalist badge

You know the score by now, I have a little endnote to post. I’m in a small but brilliant pool of talented and creative writers, and I really do often feel as though I don’t belong here. Therefore, to be in amongst the finalists for the UK blog awards for best PR, Marketing and Comms blog means so much to me… Beyond words.

It’s amazing in fact.

Therefore, I just wanted to say a big… No, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who voted for me in the awards. If it wasn’t for the people who read my blog and support me every day, I almost certainly wouldn’t bother. So for that, endless gratitude is in order.

Thank you.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my blog by heading back to my homepage and entering your email on the right-hand side of the page.

PR and lifestyle blogger jessica pardoe


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