Fast food wars: How Burger King’s irreverence made it relevant again

13 Jun 2017

  • Customer experience
  • Innovation
  • Strategy

By Alicia Tan, Managing Editor, ADMA

The year was 1953. Burger King (better known as Hungry Jacks in Australia) was founded in the US and has since been giving McDonald’s a run for its money for the last 65 years.

While McDonald’s remains as the number one fast food chain in the world, Burger King has managed to come in a close second and it’s no easy feat considering the number of fast food chains around. So how does Burger King compete in this saturated market especially going head-on with a brand that’s known for being the go-to fast food joint for families? Well, Burger King dared to be different – a true rebel – and this has certainly paid off.

Today, Burger King is known as the irreverent fast food brand that is racking in awards for their campaigns. Most recently, their McWhopper campaign picked up the top gong of the Grand Effie at the North American Effie Awards (an awards show honouring marketing effectiveness). Of course, the brand is not without controversy, especially after it was forced to pull its ad campaign in Belgium that asked Belgians to crown Burger King as the true ruler instead of its living monarch, King Philippe, which ruffled the royal’s feathers.

McWhopper Hero

But we all know that any publicity – even the bad type – is good publicity. At a time when brands need to stay relevant in order to compete, Burger King has managed to stay on top of its game thanks to its continuous push to stay innovative. Fast food is in the fast-moving category and without innovation, consumers will get bored easily. Besides coming up with new product offerings, Burger King pushes the envelope with brand campaigns that appeal to millennials that have short attention spans and often have little to no loyalty to one brand.

Instead of trying to imitate McDonald’s, major props have to be given to Burger King for adopting the irreverent approach and not taking itself too seriously in order to engage its audience and keep them talking about the brand for years to come. And sometimes, you just need to be a bit of a troll to come out on tops.

Scary BK

Learn more about the Burger King brand success story at ADMA Global Forum 2017, where Senior Vice President for Global Brand Management, Fernando Machado, will be a keynote speaker.

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