Burger King spread out its last provocation (another one you may say), obviously directed to its biggest and most renown competitor, McDonald’s. Just a reminder of what happened.
Burger King has taken out full-page ads in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune featuring an open letter to McDonald’s, calling for the companies to “end the beef.” They wanted to create and use the awareness of McDonald’s but also honor The International Day of Peace on September 21. This year’s theme is “Partnerships for Peace — Dignity for All,” and so came up the idea to propose something unique to the golden arches brand.
Burger King suggests creating the McWhopper — just a hybrid Whopper-Big Mac hybrid burger. But will the McWhopper really hit the menu of a burger joint near you? Actually, in the process of this peace attempt, the unfortunate royal brand forgot to put Ronald in the loop and we might say that Steve Easterbrook (CEO of McDonald’s) had the perfect reaction to twist the plot completely. Steve Easterbrook responded to Burger King’s idea on Facebook Wednesday morning. And that was the best move of the day.
I don’t want to say here if one of the brands was the winner of this campaign or not. To be honest, we might say that there is no winner but, for sure, there is lesson of marketing to take here. And you can always have a look to my previous article on challenger attitude https://nonobviousmarketingobservations.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/challenger-mission/. You have to truly think twice before playing the troublemaker. By this simple but sharp answer, McDonald’s CEO made it clear that they were totally leader of the market, that they don’t even consider there is a war in the burger business and that they’re open for any discussion to make the world a better place – and they don’t to make a fuss out of it. They won the emotional battle by far. The Whopper was clearly the hero of Burger King communication; McDonald’s underlines the attitude, the morals and the values of a their brand. They nailed it down. And fast. And simple.
That might be the same lesson that Pepsi remembers also. Provoke with moderation, folks but continue to do it. That makes communication so exciting and unexpected.