Dining Out Magazine

What Should a Burger King Ad Look Like?

By Keewood @sellingeating

In New Zealand right now, apparently, they look like this.

There’s a couple similarly weird ones, including an aged wealthocrat and his gold-digging Russian bride.

If I have to choose, I prefer it to the middle-of-the-road safety-first stuff they’re doing in America right now. I wish we could have the old Burger King campaign back, but I know about a hundred people personally who have volunteered how much The King creeped them out back when he was the oddly sexualized representative of a mainstream QSR chain.

So maybe The King took things too far for the mass of people required to keep a chain as major as BK in the black. Still, the agency responsible for that royal spokesperv also managed to produce some of the smartest, greatest restaurant advertising I can think of—they managed to tap into their fan’s love for the brand with the Whopper Freakout and Whopper Lust campaigns. They dubbed spicy chicken “Angry,” which is a product concept so strong even the wimps in charge right now can’t best it. And when they updated the “Have It Your Way” campaign, I…well, this is what I said in my book:

“When Burger King revived their “Have It Your Way” theme and updated it for the post-ironic humor-loving generation that we’re apparently all part of now, I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it— because here was a restaurant with a voice that came at me from all the most clever places, saying things so interesting that I felt the whole organization had become smarter overnight. Turns out I was wrong. But for awhile there, I really believed that Burger King stood for something, and was run by people who knew what the world was about, and would be able to deliver the best of the QSR offerings, promotions, systems for keeping food fresh, hiring, and training great, smart people—I didn’t think all of that consciously, or literally. But this kind of smart idea rubs off on one’s belief system.” – Selling Eating: Restaurant Marketing Beyond the Word “Delicious,” Chapter 21, page 234

I don’t think Sir Roger Poppincock rubs off on one’s belief system in quite the same way.

The “Have It Your Way” idea was so all-encompassing, it extended naturally into every part of the brand (here, I’ll run and grab an assortment of in-store stuff off Google images).

Burger King says to Pull but Push if you want toBurger King could make the “Have It Your Way” idea fit almost anything in the restaurant.

Burger King made everything wrote into a mantra.Burger King writes funny sacks. Well, they used to. Burger King writes branded signs for the trash, even. Well, they used to. There. That’s what I think a Burger King ad should look like.


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