Burger King Just Told Customers to Order From McDonald’s

Just as we thought 2020 couldn't get any stranger

Kenji Farré
Nov 9, 2020 · 4 min read
Message from Burger King asking readers to order from McDonald’s
Message from Burger King asking readers to order from McDonald’s
Source: Burger King Twitter

When it comes to fast food, there’s no greater rivalry than Burger King versus McDonald's. Since their inception in the 1950s, it’s fair to say they’ve been battling it out ever since.

But with 2020 being the year of the unexpected, Burger King didn’t fail to deliver. As England prepared a second lockdown, Burger King’s UK branch tweeted a letter urging people to order from fast-food competitors such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Subway to support the industry.

“So, if you want to help, keep treating yourself to tasty meals through home delivery, takeaway or drive thru. Getting a Whopper is always best, but ordering a Big Mac is also not such a bad thing,” the letter said.

While most restaurants are asking for help in these trying times, it’s a bold move to ask to help out the competition.

Previous Rivalry

While this is a classy gesture from Burger King, let’s look back at some of the not-so-classy trolls on McDonald’s to show just how out of character this campaign is.

1. Hiding a Big Mac behind a Whopper

Burger King adverisement aluding there was a Big Mac behind their Whopper burger
Burger King adverisement aluding there was a Big Mac behind their Whopper burger
Source: Burger King YouTube Video

In December 2019, Burger King posted a video titled “A Whopper of a Secret.”

Fast food lovers are probably aware that a Burger King Whopper is heftier than a McDonald’s Big Mac. But for those who weren’t aware, Burger King made sure to demonstrate that by hiding a Big Mac behind every 2019 Whopper advertisement in the UK.

The video goes on to show several Whopper ads with a Big Mac hidden behind it. The campaign was so bold it concluded the video by thanking McDonald’s for “having its back” throughout the year.

“Placing our competitor’s product in our own ads throughout 2019 without anyone knowing has been one of the most fun ideas we have ever executed. It is of course just a good old-fashioned product comparison idea, but it’s been brought bang up to date by some lateral thinking and rebellious media behavior. We’re loving it," said Ian Heartfield, chief creative officer at the advertising agency hired by Burger King.

If you want to see the ad click here.

2. The Whopper Detour

The Whopper detour advertisement offering a whopper for 1c with the BK app only at McDonald’s
The Whopper detour advertisement offering a whopper for 1c with the BK app only at McDonald’s
Source: Burger King Advertisement

Back in 2018, Burger King came up with another unconventional advertisement called “The Whopper Detour.”

The campaign encouraged people to download the Burger King app and go within 600 feet of a McDonald’s to receive a notification offering a Whopper for just one cent. Upon placing the order, the app steered customers away from McDonald’s and toward the closest Burger King for the order pickup.

Amazingly, Burger King’s chief marketing officer stated they got one million downloads for the app since the campaign launched and it briefly reached №1 in the Apple app store and Google Play.

If you want to see the ad click here.

3. Never Trust a Clown

“The moral is: Never trust a clown” next to a Burger King logo on the cinema screen
“The moral is: Never trust a clown” next to a Burger King logo on the cinema screen
Source: Digital Synopsis YouTube video

Back in 1963, McDonald’s decided to have a clown — Ronald McDonald — as the primary mascot for the chain. While most people saw the mascot as a mere attraction for children, arch-enemies Burger King thought differently.

Using the much-anticipated horror film IT featuring an evil clown, they seized the opportunity to hi-jack the movie.

At the premiere in Hamburg, Germany, Burger King flashed two spotlights just before the movie credits stating: “The moral is: never trust a clown.” and then flashing the Burger King logo. The unexpecting crowd could finally laugh after the terrifying scenes of a demonic clown in the horror film.

If you want to see the crowd’s reaction click here.

Takeaway

In a world where companies are consumed by growth and profitability, a simple tweet in solidarity with your competitors going through hard times is a refreshing reminder that doing good is good for business.

It’d be nice to say the opposite, but this type of a campaign still remains an outlier.

If you found this article interesting, I encourage you to take a look at Patagonia’s daring campaign I wrote about here.

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