Looks like Burger King has found a way to use social networking to promote its signature Whopper burger. With an unusual strategy, Burger King is using popular social-networking site Facebook as a way to reach out to consumers.
In a new ad campaign featuring a Facebook app, Burger King offers a coupon for a free Whopper -- but it comes with a catch. The campaign offers Facebook members the coupon after they publicly cut 10 of their friends from their Facebook list. Usually, members can delete friends anonymously, but not this time.
The application asks: "What would you do for a free Whopper? Now is the time to put your fair-weather Web friendships to the test. Install Whopper Sacrifice on your Facebook profile and we'll reward you with a flame-broiled Whopper when you sacrifice 10 of your friends."
Whopping Number Being Axed
The campaign, developed by Crispin Porter & Bogusky of Miami, is catching on quickly as many Facebook friends have been sacrificed by people who want a free Whopper.
Each time a friend is traded in for the patty, the app sends a notice to the ex-friend via Facebook's news feed, telling the friend that the user thought a free Whopper was worth more than their friendship. A box is then added to the user's profile page showing their progress toward a free Whopper, asking, "Who will be the next to go?"
Barry Schnitt, a Facebook spokesperson, said the company was not commenting at this point about the application. Asked how many people had downloaded the application and sacrificed 10 friends, Schnitt said, "We don't provide data on third-party applications."
Whoppersacrifice.com, however, had the count at a whopping 69,221 at the time of publication. There are a few limitations to the application; for example, members can receive only one free coupon.
Silly or Strategy?
"It's asking the question of which love is bigger, your love for your friends or your love for the Whopper?" Jeff Benjamin, executive interactive creative director at Crispin, told AdWeek.
It's not yet clear why Burger King or its marketing and brand-advertising firm would choose such a bizarre way to give out vouchers for free Whoppers, but it should come as no real surprise since the fast-food chain's recent campaigns have been somewhat unusual.
The Whopper Sacrifice application comes not long after the Whopper Virgin campaign. The campaign was a taste test of the Whopper by people who had never tasted one, and who certainly knew nothing of its branding.
James Gregory, founder of New York-based CoreBrand, referred to the campaign as exploitive and said it was not effective. Gregory also questioned Burger King's strategy behind the taste test, calling into question who Burger King is targeting -- existing customers or people unaccustomed to fast food.
However, Gregory noted of the Facebook campaign, "Innovation and social media are synonymous. When major players like Burger King are offering a free Whopper, you can be sure they have found a lever that others will soon discover and copy."