Burger King trolls McDonald’s with ‘The Whopper Detour’

The fast food chain offering its iconic burger for just a penny, but you must download and order through its app while visiting your nearby McDonald’s restaurant.

Burger King's 'Detour' stunt

Throwing shade at the competition isn’t a new marketing move, but Burger King’s latest campaign is built upon it.

Through Dec. 12, the fast food chain is offering its menu mainstay, the Whopper, for a penny—but only if you order through its relaunched app when you’re within 600 feet of a McDonald’s.

Dubbed “The Whopper Detour,” the promotion, which launched on Tuesday, is available once you’re within a digital geofence around a “participating” McDonald’s. The offer is redeemable only one time.

In a press release, Burger King explained how the stunt worked:

The WHOPPER® Detour works by geofencing McDonald’s locations across the country. If a guest is inside one of these geofenced areas and has the new BK® App on their device, the app will unlock the WHOPPER® sandwich for a penny promotion. Once the 1¢ WHOPPER ® sandwich order is placed, the user will be “detoured” away from McDonald’s, as the app navigates them to the nearest BURGER KING ® restaurant for pick up.

AdAge reported:

BK says FCB New York approached it with the premise about a year ago.”We love ideas that when the idea gets to us we say ‘how the heck are we going to pull this off?'” said Marcelo Pascoa, BK’s global head of brand marketing.

It’s a gutsy move, especially considering the growing popularity of branded fast-food apps. The challenge for these PR and marketing pros is to stand out from other promotions and marketing messages—while also persuading consumers to download and use their apps. For consumers, this means giving up personal information.

Overcoming the obstacle can bring a significant boost to an organization’s bottom line.

CNBC reported:

The enticement of a one-penny Whopper should encourage customers to download the company’s app, calling attention to how restaurants are using their apps to interact with their patrons.Eighty percent of customers who want to hear from a restaurant say that they want to learn about discounts and special offers, according to data compiled by Deloitte.

But that doesn’t mean that they will actually be saving money by ordering online. Ordering via a mobile app or the internet tends to increase a customer’s spending by 20 percent, according to Deloitte data. For fast food restaurants like Burger King, that number jumps to 26 percent.

Burger King continued to troll McDonald’s in its print and online messages for the campaign.

AdAge reported:

The work includes a print ad showing the arm of BK’s king changing a McDonald’s sign to read “Billions Swerved” instead of “Billions Served.” BK did a media buy with Waze that includes a banner ad that appears when one’s car stops near a McDonald’s. And an online video promoting the limited-time deal shows actors trying to redeem the offer at the McDonald’s drive-thru, where their orders are met with confusion from McDonald’s staff.

Burger King has also continued to tweet sass:

Inc. contributor Bill Murphy Jr. wrote that the move is smart because it invites consumers to gang up on Burger King’s competitor:

This isn’t just Burger King trolling McDonald’s. It’s Burger King recruiting thousands (I’d assume) of customers to do it with them. Everybody likes to be in on the joke–and they’re getting pretty good media coverage out of it, too.

However, the fast food chain is careful not to go too far with its taunting.

AdAge reported:

“We like bending the rules, we like being edgy, we like being a challenger brand, but Burger King will never be a mean-spirited brand,” says Pascoa.

What do you think of the PR and marketing stunt, Ragan/PR Daily readers?

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