Fast food chain uses Halloween to prank its customers, and its competitors!
To celebrate this year’s Halloween, a Burger King branch in New York has comically turned itself into a McDonald’s restaurant. The eatery in Queen’s draped ghostly sheets over the store, each scribed with the name of its biggest rival.
The sign underneath read: ‘Booooo! Just kidding, we still flame-grill our burgers. HAPPY HALLOWEEN.’
David in Miami, the agency behind the idea, also created a short video, which was uploaded to Burger King’s YouTube channel. So far, it’s notched up just under 600,000 views.
Ramping up the rivalry / Burger King’s tactic of gaining media coverage by taunting its biggest competitor is something that has earned the brand a lot of column inches in the past. Way back in 2007, the Whopper Freakout video – in which the chain pretended to halt production of its flagship burger and handed out Big Macs instead – achieved viral status.
A mash-up between two brands that have been rivals throughout history is definitely something that [we knew] would cause huge talkability
– Fernando Machado, Burger King
More recently, the brand’s Cannes Lions Grand Prix-winning McWhopper campaign proposed to merge the Whopper and Big Mac together to create the ‘McWhopper’ for charity Peace One Day. Their rivals didn’t play ball and headlines like ‘McDonald’s snubs Burger King’s McWhopper idea for World Peace Day’ show the success of the strategy.
‘People love mash-ups,’ Fernando Machado, Burger King’s SVP of global brand management, told us during Cannes week this year. ‘And a mash-up between two brands that have been rivals throughout history… is definitely something that [we knew] would cause huge talkability.’
He continued: ‘I think the biggest risk one can take is to create a flat advertising campaign. I have never participated on a campaign that decreased sales or damaged the brand. The most common outcome is that nothing will happen. You create a campaign, invest in media and then nothing happens. And that’s the biggest risk we all face. The problem is that most people don’t realise that.’
Burger King knows that goading its biggest rivals is one way to ensure that it can create a reaction – and the early view count on an (unlisted) video for this Halloween initiative shows once again that it’s a strategy that’s working for them.
Bringing the benefits / This tactic – of using Halloween to have a dig at your competitors, has been used before. Pepsi, for example, released a print ad a few years back that showed one of its cans dressed up as a can of coke. What makes Burger King’s effort more interesting is a) the scale and b) the fact that it managed to poke fun at its rivals while also reminding people of the brand’s biggest differentiator – that it flame-grills its burgers for a better taste.