If you’ve followed my political past or have joined the list to receive my recent writings, then you know I’m slightly obsessed with using comparative advertising to grow your bottom line.
In my recent podcast interview with The James Altucher Show (James Altucher), we discussed how Wendy’s is crushing the fast food wars with a comparative ad strategy (you can listen to my interview with James here).
But the bigger point is this: Just like political campaigns, I LOVE companies that incorporate smart, authentic comparative advertising that endears the customer to their brand and simultaneously crushes the competition. If a business can get a customer to laugh, build brand loyalty, and create negative feelings about their competition — that’s a home run.
But we are just getting started…
Because if they can do this by running an ad campaign that creates a deep connection on digital platforms AND the customer freely gives up their data… shewwwww — that’s a grand slam.
Enter Burger King.
They just completed an 8-day marketing campaign (the best I’ve studied in 2018) offering one-cent Whoppers to the general public.
One-cent burgers = happy customers. Connection built.
But we are not done yet!
This first step to receive the one-cent Whopper was to download the Burger King app.
Burger King offered practically free food in exchange for their customers’ data (by downloading the app). With all the data their customers willingly provided, Burger King will now be able to re-target them with ads in the future. Brilliant.
But it gets better…
In order to actually get their Whopper, the customer had to order it from a McDonald’s restaurant that’s located less than 600 feet from a Burger King.
Burger King literally taunted the competition by having its customers go to a McDonald’s (or at least get within the “geofenced” areas), order a Whopper, and then leave to go get their burger from Burger King.
This takes creative comparative advertising to a whole new level.
BTW, no one is offended (except McDonald’s executives), and customers took advantage of an incredible deal. That is some marketing inspired jiu-jitsu.
An especially cool highlight to this is that the campaign was named “The Whopper Detour” making this both funny and memorable — the key to a successful branding effort.
But there is one more thing you must know…
The eight-day marketing ploy has received millions of dollars in FREE (!!) advertising since its execution. Yes, the media has put Burger King on a pedestal and dubbed McDonald’s as the restaurant that got punk’d (BTW — I wouldn’t be surprised if this pushed Burger King’s earned media dollars into the 8-figure mark).
Here are a few examples of the media throwing lighter fluid on the ad campaign:
- “Burger King trolls McDonald’s with 1 cent burger promotion” (CNN)
- “Burger King is selling Whoppers for a penny — but you need to head to McDonald’s first” (USA Today)
- “How to Get Burger King’s 1-Cent Whoppers” (Yahoo)
There are three things a business owner can learn from this:
- Try Comparative Ads: If you are an underdog in the marketplace, comparative advertising will work. Remember, however, your strategy must punch up, not down.
- Own Your Data: In today’s disruptive marketplace, when you let Facebook, Google or any other digital platform keep your customer data, you are putting your business in peril. You must own the data. Brilliant job by Burger King.
- Build a Strategy That Wins: Finally, Burger King’s marketing campaign is clearly part of a bigger strategy. If you mimic this idea with tactics, stop it! Build a complete strategy that builds the brand, converts sales, diminishes your competitor (without offending), collects customer data, AND earns you free advertising with the media.
PS — What do Guidry Organic Farms (a pecan butter company) and Billy Reid (a clothing designer) have in common? They both know this one relationship building tactic that creates loyal customers for life. I share that secret with Travis Chappell on his Build Your Network podcast: Listen to our conversation here.