Whoppers and Net Neutrality

January 30, 2018 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

Have you ever had a Whopper craving so bad you’d do anything to get it?

Picture this: you roll up to Burger King, race up to the front and slap you change down. You just want that Whopper.

Then it’s like someone hit the brakes, hard and fast. You have the option of a slow, fast or hyperfast MBPS (making burgers per second) priced at $4.99, $12.99 and $25.99 respectively.

Twenty-six dollars for a burger? Ouch. Bring on the hanger.

In an effort to draw attention to the potential effects of the FCC having repealed Net Neutrality, Burger King brought the rage out in customers who were told they had to wait to get their burger, even when the burger was sitting there, ready.

It’s a stunt that broke the issue of net neutrality down in plain terms that everyone can relate to – just wanting that damn burger. 

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s why:

1. It’s so relatable it hurts.

Hanger is a real thing – okay? Unfortunately, the topic of net neutrality is not always real concept to a lot of people.

It’s not real in the sense that a lot of people actually don’t even know what it is, especially those who grew up with internet. The internet has always been there, it’s just grown in size, offering and speed throughout the years.

What people don’t know is that it’s net neutrality laws that keep the Internet what it’s always meant to be – an open space for all. Not one that can be segregated and chopped up by service providers who hold it for ransom.

So, by connecting the fuzzy topic with something that customers immediately understand (hanger + burgers), Burger King got some extra brand recognition while doing people a service.

It’s a great piece of content that lit the lightbulb in people’s heads everywhere, and almost instantly too.

2. The ad acts as a nice continuation of Burger King’s “stunt” marketing.

This is two-fold. On one hand, we’re not quite sure why Burger King cares about net neutrality. It’s a fast-food joint. However, on the other hand, Burger King has been one of those surprising brands that wears its heart on its sleeve.

It then expresses itself through bold marketing campaigns pulled as stunts in its locations.

For this reason, this ad works. At the end of the day, net neutrality is topical and Burger King is good at unexpectedly hitting people in the gut with its razor sharp messaging.

Getting involved in political issues can be a messy thing (ahem, Pepsi), but this ad works because it’s so authentic.

It took a big concept and narrowed it to the perception of the brand, but in a way that gave consumers a new understanding.

So, it’s weird. But weird is sometimes oddly good.  

3. The spot is a great representation of brands doing something with their platform.

Weird or not, this ad demonstrates how a brand can properly handle a tense issue in a way that’s both on-brand and clear to audiences watching.

Net neutrality has far-reaching implications and it’s something that needs to be talked about from all walks of life. Brands have huge platforms and reach that can potentially be put to some good use if thought out and well-planned.

Take for instance, Sonos. They too jumped into the net neutrality discussion the other day just in time for the Grammys. It closed its flagship store in New York and covered the windows with signs messaging that addressed the issue of net neutrality and the barriers it will create for the music industry.  

While this is a little more of an obvious connection that Burger King Whoppers, it’s still the same situation.

Responsibly conveying an important message to huge quantities of people who will undoubtedly be affecting by the issue.

The key word being “responsible” – brands can’t dive in anywhere and say what they want. It has to be accurate, authentic and genuine if it’s going to cut through.

After writing about Whoppers so much, we kind of want one (marketing inception)? But more importantly, we applaud the work of David in cleverly highlighting a crucial issue – not to mention driving interest (read: hunger) in it.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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