Tag Archives: Burger
This is a story about a smaller restaurant chain trolling McDonald’s, Burger King, and other giants of the business. And it’s kind of brilliant. Before the details, a quick explanation.
The fast food industry is a smart and fun one to follow no matter what business you’re in, and for two big reasons.
First, there’s the pure scale. Make a menu change at McDonald’s for example, and you’re upending the routines of hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans. You can learn a lot just by watching how they develop and test new products.
But second, there’s the marketing.
Think of McDonald’s, which spends $ 2 billion a year on marketing and ads. That’s half the entire value of its much smaller competitor, Wendy’s. It’s an incredible chance just to unpack what they do, and figure out why they think that various ideas will work.
Which brings us to some shoot-the-moon marketing campaigns that can actually turn the big chains’ efforts on their heads.
The only catch? You had to place the order from a McDonald’s restaurant. (Technically, just being within 600 feet was close enough to trigger the offer.)
Of course, Burger King isn’t small; just smaller than McDonald’s. But it shows how if you’re creative, you can use a competitor’s strength–in that case the fact that there are roughly twice as many McDonald’s in the U.S. than there are Burger King locations–to your advantage.
But what if you don’t have 1.7 million Twitter followers and a full time social media marketing operation, like Burger King, to get word of your deal out.?
What if you don’t even have a mobile app (or a burning desire to get people to download your app, which is what the Burger King promotion and so many others these days are all about)?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Smoothie King.
Again: not exactly tiny, although very small compared to McDonald’s and Burger King. Smoothie King has close to 800 stores, heavily concentrated in warmer weather parts of the country.
It’s privately held, and even if you’ve never tried it, you might recognize the name from the $ 40 million naming deal it has for the NBA New Orleans Pelicans home arena (“Smoothie King Center“).
Now, like its bigger competitors, Smoothie King also has a rewards app, and it’s launched a contest to try to incentivize people to download and use it. (The “Change-a-Meal Challenge.”)
But what attracted me to this whole thing is how Smoothie King is kicking off its promotion: By letting you use any coupon from any other fast food restaurant — McDonald’s or Burger King included — at Smoothie King.
It’s good for only one day, New Year’s Eve, and regardless of the competitor’s coupon’s value, it gets you $ 2 off a smoothie at Smoothie King on December 31.
And in truth, I don’t know how many people would take advantage of it. But that doesn’t really matter in a way; what matters in this social media age is whether you can find a truthful, fun way to troll your competitors and turn their strengths to your advangage.
As a marketing strategy, I think it’s brilliant.
As for the Smoothies, well, I don’t know. I’m writing this from New Hampshire, and it looks like the nearest Smoothie King would be a three hour drive away. You’ll have to let me know in the comments.
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It was a day like any other.
Customers streamed into Burger King and asked for a Whopper.
Except this wasn’t a day like any other, because Burger King’s staff told their customers that, on this particular day, they weren’t selling Whoppers.
Some customers were angry. Some even used extremely flame-grilled words.
What on earth was going on?
This was November 10 in Argentina. McDonald’s had designated this day as McHappy Day.
On McHappy Day, all the money made from selling Big Macs was given to kids suffering from cancer.
So in every one of the 107 Burger Kings in Argentina, staff were instructed not to sell Whoppers and to direct customers to their nearest McDonald’s in order to buy a Big Mac.
It felt so public-spirited and many were seemingly impressed.
Burger King was, though, walking an extremely thin line here.
By making a video of its apparent good-heartedness, it was clearly trying to pat itself on the commercial back.
In the video, you might notice one Burger King employee make a disparaging comment about McDonald’s: “The place where they don’t flame-grill their burgers.”
Moreover, the sight of Burger King’s King character going to McDonald’s to buy a Big Mac smacked of, well, marketing.
Clever marketing, you might think. But marketing, all the same.
Burger King could have simply made a donation of its own to the good cause. It might have decided to give all the profits from Whopper sales to the same charities as McDonald’s.
Instead, some might conclude that it piggybacked more overtly on McDonald’s day.
This isn’t the first time that Burger King has tried to engage with its larger rival.
A couple of years ago in New Zealand, Burger King suggested that it and McDonald’s share a Peace Day and jointly create a McWhopper.
Who benefited most? Well, Burger King enjoyed worldwide publicity.
It also won a lot of awards from the advertising industry for its idea.
Some good deeds are just that. Others, well, there’s a gray area.
Especially when there’s marketing involved.