Burger King: Promoting a Food Fight

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Burger King: Promoting a Food Fight

ALL ABOUT THE CASE

CHALLENGING CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

Events:

2003 and 2004

2003 – Outcome of BK’s performance and its competitors

- it turned out that:
- MC Do (No. 1), reported 9% sales jump to a total of $22.1 billion
- BK (No. 2), sales slipped about 5% to $7.9 billion
- Wendy (No. 3), had spiked 11% to $7.4 billion, putting it in a position to overtake BK

2004 – Burger King CEO Grad Blum’s move

- reviewed the company’s 2003 outcomes
- fired the firm’s advertising agency Young & Rubicam (Y&R)
- award the advertising of BK Company to Crispin Porter + Bogusky (Crispin)

The Advertising Agencies:

Young & Rubicam (Y&R) versus Crispin Porter + Bogusky (Crispin):

Y&R
- had gotten the $350 million BK account only 10 months earlier
- to help revive BK’s sales, it had developed a campaign with the theme “THE FIRE’S READY” which focused on BK’s flame-broiled cooking method versus frying
- observers found the message to be FLAT and UNINSPIRING and the declining sales sealed Y&R’s fate

Crispin
- creative shop that was known for its offbeat, unorthodox, and even irreverent promotions
- found an inexpensive ways to gain attention, veering away from the traditional mass media
- had produced award-winning, low-budget campaigns
- out-of-the-box, results-oriented agency
- developed some loose rules:
- zero in on the product
- kick the TV commercial habit
- find the sweet spot (the overlap between product characteristics and customer needs)
- surprise = buzz = exposure
- don’t be timid
- think of advertising as a product rather that a service

HIT AFTER HIT FOR THE KING

Crispin’s Promotion Strategy for BK Company:

1. recommended going back to the firm’s “HAVE IT YOUR WAY” tagline, developed by BK’s second advertising agency, BBDO, way back in 1974 2. Crispin kicked off the new campaign with TV commercials - the Office ads was launch to reinforce the message that each customer could have a custom-made burger – no matter how unusual it might be - Crispin planned an entire package of promotions around the new-old theme, including everything from in-store signage to messages on cups 3. a microsite www.subsevientchicken.com was launched

- the site featured a man dressed in a chicken suit who would respond by performing any commands that visitors typed in to a text box - the only indication that the site was sponsored by BK was a small icon marked “BK Tendercrisp”

- it told only 20 people – all of those were friends of people who worked at the agency
- within the 1st 10 days, 20 million people visited the site, with the average visitor spending more than seven minutes

http://www.bk.com/en/us/campaigns/subservient-chicken.html

4. Crispin created a campaign to launch a new BK product, CHICKEN FRIES - promotion was based on a faux heavy metal band called COQ ROQ (the lead singer’s name was Fowl Mouth) - the whole idea was to create a charade of a real band, complete with songs, videos, cell phone ring tones, and promotional merchandise - the main target market of BK in this campaign are the “YOUNG MEN” - whatever those young men men thought of Coq Roq, it led them to buy more than 100 million orders of chicken fries in the first four weeks of the new product launch

➢ Despite the success of these campaigns in producing lots of Web site hits, many analysts wondered if they would turn around BK’s sliding market share.

➢ There was also speculation as to whether or not Crispin could continue to produce ideas that...
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