What is in this article?:
- No lead agency, no problem for Burger King
- Finding its way
Burger King has worked with four different agencies in less than three years.
Finding its way
Burger King’s marketing strategy has evolved several times since it cut ties with Crispin Porter + Bogusky in March of 2011, and the brand’s same-store sales have had corresponding peaks and valleys.
In June of 2011, McGarryBowen won Burger King’s account and immediately transitioned the chain’s marketing away from the offbeat advertising featuring the The King, for which Crispin had been known.
By January 2012, however, Burger King decided to move to a roster of agencies without one lead shop, and Mother and David were brought in to produce campaigns along with McGarryBowen. The Pitch Agency had been Burger King’s firm for children’s marketing and was invited to expand its portfolio with more branding opportunities.
Burger King launched its revamped menu in April 2012 using Mother’s celebrity-focused commercials, which contributed to a 4.4-percent gain in domestic same-store sales during the second quarter of that year. Mother was named Burger King’s lead agency in February 2013.
However, the chain’s domestic same-store sales moderated back to a 0.5-percent decrease in the second quarter of 2013. That figure improved only slightly to a 0.3-percent decrease in the third quarter when Alexandre Macedo, president of Burger King North America, indicated that Burger King would dial back the number of product introductions and campaigns to be “more impactful,” like the Satisfries rollout.
The Satisfries introduction was Mother’s last campaign for Burger King. When the brand announced the agency review the first week of January 2014, it was running a national campaign for its breakfast platform created by The Pitch Agency.
Coad, the chief creative officer at MDB Communications, said that if Burger King is still determined to reach beyond the young-male audience that gravitated toward Crispin’s advertising, its marketing strategy of fewer campaigns to aggressively support individual products likely could work.
“Pizza Hut did it for years, where they picked a product and did a great ad campaign around it, and it accrued the reputation for having great products,” he said. “That vertical strategy around individual items is a fine thing to do — if you spend the money necessary to do it.”
Recent franchisee Garrett supported Burger King’s plans to do just that, believing the “fewer, more impactful” approach begun last September with the launch of Satisfries would turn things around this year.
“In 2013, the brand tried to do way too much,” Garrett said. “What happens with fewer campaigns is you get consolidation of media from a purchasing standpoint, then efficiency and then more dollars moving from local back to national [advertising].”
At the close of the third quarter of 2013, Burger King had 13,259 restaurants worldwide, including 7,404 locations in the United States and Canada.