When the Whopper went away

Last month, a Burger King in Vegas took part in the setup for an ad campaign by pretending to no longer offer Whoppers at their store. When people asked, they were told that “The Home of the Whopper” no longer sells them.

Those reactions resulted in surprised, sometimes annoyed customers who claimed to have eaten them all their lives. Great stuff, if you’re the King.

During the campaign, they video taped the reactions of customers who were given Big Macs, Wendy’s burgers etc – from behind the counter.

Needless to say, all the videos in the commercials are showing annoyed customers, upset that they got a Big Mac or whatever instead of “their Whopper”, who later appear relieved and amused when they eventually have the joke revealed to them – sometimes by the BK mascot, “The King”.

At one point, the manager of the store actually asks a customer (at 1min 45 secs into the video): “Level of one to ten, how pissed were you guys were when you heard?” (that the Whopper wasn’t on the menu anymore).

Note the unusual characteristics of this big corporate campaign:

  • It’s actually funny.
  • It’s also filmed “reality TV style”, to fit in with what more and more people are familiar with.
  • It’s clearly measurable, since they can track the change in Whopper sandwich sales during the campaign.
  • They actually had the nerve to do it, not fake doing it (at least that’s the appearance).

Completely refreshing.

Absent perhaps the level of video production expense that BK went to, how can you use this technique at your store?