Calm yourself down. The Whopper’s not going anywhere.
By now you’ve probably seen commercials from Burger King’s “Whopper Freakout” TV ad campaign. (If you haven’t, here’s the recap: a Vegas Burger King pretends to discontinue the Whopper, capturing customer shock and outrage with hidden video cameras).
The campaign had a tremendous impact, with nearly 4 million views of the freakout “documentary” through the website and on YouTube. Not only did customers declare their love for the Whopper (“This is the best burger nationwide”), but it also demonstrated that all burgers aren’t created equal (“I hate McDonalds!”).
What makes the ad campaign particularly significant is that it is perhaps the most explicit and mainstream example of “deprivation research” – an effort to gain insight on brand loyalty and product loyalty through deprivation. Companies including Dunkin’ Donuts and Verizon Wireless have used the technique to study the effects on their customer base. But Burger King is one of the first, reports the Wall Street Journal, to use it to advertise to consumers.
Burger King credits the ads in part for the double-digit percentage jump in sales for the quarter ending in December. Not a bad birthday present on the 50th anniversary of the Whopper.
Which raises the question: Could this be the next new advertising trend on Madison Ave?
Doubtful. It takes supreme brand confidence to lay it all out on the line like that – confidence that few companies possess.