Burger King is a brand that’s gone viral in the UK for a few reasons recently (some good, some bad). First, was just before Halloween when they launched a campaign that was branded out of touch by many communications professionals, for tormenting real businesses that have closed down. Pandemic or no pandemic, ultimately the failure of these outlets would have resulted in job losses and hardship for many people. Not really the kind of thing to be joking about. The campaign actually encouraged customers to visit these derelict places in the state, and they’d receive a free whopper (read more here). Though quite creative, it was not a stunt that was well praised by PR people – opinions exasperated even more so given the current circumstances we’re all in.
This morning, however, Burger King made it to Twitter’s top trends in the UK for a different reason. This time, a much more positive one. The fast food brand is usually notorious for their harsh and unapologetic ridiculing of their main competitor – McDonalds. But today they decided to completely change tack.
Why It Pays To Do Something Different
I’ve always been a big fan of Burger King and their audacious marketing, in fact, I’ve written about them many times previously in this blog. However, even I must admit that sometimes the McDonalds-bashing theme can get a little tiresome. Though they always find new and innovative way to communicate – change is always refreshing and very welcomed.
This is why I believe their campaign to encourage customers to competitive businesses has bene well received by the public. Firstly, it’s unlike anything that Burger King has done before (to my knowledge) and secondly, it’s unlike anything that any business has done so far since the 2nd lockdown announcement on Saturday. I don’t doubt that they won’t be the only brand to deploy this kind of messaging, though, in fact I believe they might kickstart quite the trend. We need to support one another, after all.
Customers love to be kept engaged, so it definitely doesn’t do any harm to switch up your messaging every now and again. Whether that’s with media relations, link building, social media strategy or plain old fashioned advertising. Sticking to what you know works, but being daring and different is really how you grab and retain attention.
I for one, am all for this campaign – but I do love a second opinion. So at lunchtime today I asked my followers what they thought about this campaign by Burger King. Though the poll is still running until tomorrow, the results pretty much speak for themselves so far.
Sending Your Customers Away – Is It Wise?
Some will be questioning whether sending customers to competitors is foolish (maybe that’s what the 22.6% who didn’t rate this campaign thought), especially in these uncertain times. The reality is, though, is that Burger King’s post alone probably won’t do that.
Though written with good intentions, it’s unlikely that the brand will lose a large percentage of its customers, just because they’ve suggested to support their competition too. Some might be inclined to go and support the businesses mentioned, but I doubt Burger King would notice a significant drop in sales, purely as a result of this marketing campaign.
Furthermore, even if they did, it would likely be tiny in comparison to the value of the exposure they’ve received as a result of their plea to support the likes of McDonalds and other businesses. The post has been well shared on social media, racked up thousands upon thousands of engagements and has been covered nationally in the press. People love a responsible brand.
That kind of coverage will compensate for any losses of sales and then some. At times like these, remaining relevant and consistent is super important – and one way or another Burger King always seem to find a way to do this.