Well played Burger King.
In case you missed it, Burger King sent an open invitation to McDonalds to join forces on World Peace Day to put aside their differences and sell a combined burger – the McWhopper in a pop up restaurant that would combine elements of the two brands.
They even built a website to present the invitation. It’s impressive…
… and McDonalds turned them down.
On the one hand this seems a shame. It would have been good to see them do this together. But on the other it seems like a very, very clever marketing move by Burger King.
There are several reasons why BK can count the win.
1. They couldn’t lose. No-one (except a few crazy radicals) is going to speak out against world peace. So public opinion is going to be on their side. However McDonalds respond, BK own the moral high ground from the outset.
2. They did it first. Since BK grabbed the initiative – they own the project. It matters little how much they promise to collaborate, share, adapt, change and listen – the project was and is theirs. McDonalds can join in or not.
3. They made the invitation in public. Online. Had they made the phone call which Steve, McDonalds CEO, suggests would have been sufficient – and received the thanks, but no thanks reply no-one would have been any the wiser. In truth this would have been the more “peaceful” way of approaching this.
4. Once the invitation was published it didn’t really matter what McDonalds did. Accept and you are labelled as BK’s lapdog – following the leader in this morally superior crusade. Decline and you get the negative backlash that a sore loser can expect… and that is already happening!
But here’s what we should also be considering:
1. The website built to issue the invitation wasn’t put together in a morning. BK have put together a slick presentation, with videos and cool graphics. They have spent time and plenty of marketing budget planning and developing this project. Had McDonalds called their bluff (more of this in a moment) they would also have had to spend whatever was required to run the actual project.
2. Did BK ever expect McDonalds to accept the invitation? I don’t think so. Had they been genuinely considering the possibility that this might actually happen, they would have contacted McDonalds before making anything public – and well before spending the aforementioned budget on the website.
3. If you are genuinely interested in promoting “peace” you don’t foist this upon your enemy and then sit back to watch them squirm as they try to come up with a suitable response online – when you have already studied the options available to them like a chess master and realised that you have, indeed, worked yourself into a winning position – checkmate in two. Instead, you contact them privately and then make a joint announcement in the spirit of true peace.
Personally I don’t buy Burger King’s sincerity. Sure, they are going to sell a few “screw you, McDonalds” burgers as some customers decide to punish McDonalds for not liking world peace (Really? Unfortunately – yes, the market is this simplistic), but this move could quickly come back and bite them on the bun as we realise that their offer was neither as genuine nor as sincere as they would have us believe.
As stated at the outset, well played Burger King – you have scored a very easy point. But you didn’t play fair.
What is your take on the BK marketing move? Were they sincere – or was it a cheap shot at Ronald?