5 Iconic Marketing Strategies Used by Burger King

Founded in Florida in 1953, Burger King is one of the largest fast-food chains in the world with around 20,000 locations. Throughout the years, Burger King has relied on massive marketing campaigns and strategies to help keep them at the forefront of peoples’ minds when they’re thinking about where to go for lunch. Here are five of those strategies that helped boost Burger King’s status, bringing in millions of dollars in revenue.

The Battle Against McDonald’s

Throughout most of its history, Burger King has played second-fiddle in the fast food hamburger game to McDonald’s. Naturally, Burger King has taken countless shots at McDonald’s, including campaigns that say to “never trust a clown” and that behind every Big Mac is a bigger Whopper. Perhaps the most involved anti-McDonald’s campaign that Burger King has ever had, though, was when they went all-in on touting their French fries.

McDonald’s is known for having French fries that are almost universally beloved, but not so much for Burger King. In the late 1990s, the company spent the equivalent of $150 million in today’s money to promote their new fries, which included commercials with blind taste tests. Burger King bought up a lot of ad space saying that they were the new fry king in town, and it helped drum up a lot of new business.

Burger King Kids Club

Another thing that McDonald’s holds above other fast food restaurants is the popularity of the kids’ menu. The Happy Meal is the first thing that people tend to think of when it comes to fast food for kids, but Burger King was hoping to change that in the 1990s. At the start of the decade, the Burger King Kids Club was introduced, hoping to make children feel like they were part of an exclusive team.

This included Burger King introducing a slew of characters that were inclusive, including a handicapped child named Wheels. The Kids Club did a fine job in pulling in the millennial generation to Burger King for several years but really started to tail off toward the end in terms of implementation. Thus, the BK Kids Club was pulled in 1999, making it the quintessential “90s kid” pop culture piece.

The King Mascot

When Burger King started operations, there was a cartoony king who sat atop a hamburger while holding an oversize drink. However, as the chain became more popular and expanded nationwide, many became familiar only with the Burger King text with the buns on the logo. It wasn’t until the 2000s that Burger King established a full-time mascot in the same way that Ronald McDonald had been representing McDonald’s for decades.

Thus, the King was introduced into advertising in 2003. He became an instant fan favorite and appeared in nearly every advertisement for several years. In 2010, Burger King retired the mascot, but with marketing campaigns not hitting as hard without him, the King was brought back in 2015. Is he a bit creepy? Sure, but he’s incredibly effective for advertising.

Have It Your Way

During the early 1970s, fast food restaurants didn’t want to make any changes or substitutions when it came to menu items because it cut into efficiency. Burger King decided to scrap that idea and allow customers to make any alterations they wanted. Paired with a catchy jingle, the “Have it Your Way” campaign was born and millions came to BK to try an item they always wanted for the first time, except in their own way.

The campaign became so successful that Burger King never really dropped it. In fact, it became the company’s slogan, and in the decades that followed, the slogan remained a variation of the famous phrase. Now, pretty much every fast food chain allows people to make alterations, but those on the older side remember that it was Burger King who did it first.

The Whopper Song

Speaking of the “Have it Your Way” jingle, a new twist was put on it in 2022 that became one of the most talked about advertising campaigns in years. Simply known to many as “Whopper Whopper,” the song repeated the menu item’s name over and over, making sure that it got into the head of the viewer. It ended up being massively successful as people who have never even eaten at Burger King were humming the tune.

This was especially true for football fans in the United States during the 2022 season. Seemingly every commercial break of NFL and college football games had the Whopper song playing, and the campaign spread like wildfire. It resulted in a strong fourth quarter for Burger King which saw an increase in revenue compared to the previous year.

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