On-time and real-time marketing campaigns can be tremendously successful, if executed correctly. In a recent class post I highlighted an on-time and a real-time campaign, overviewing the effectiveness of each. To make sure we are all on the same page, see below for a basic definition of these two very similar, yet different campaign styles.
On-time Marketing Campaign: Centered around an event, holiday or season, this style of campaign is planned well in advance of the launch.
Real-Time Marketing Campaign: This type of campaign is launched promptly after a topic goes viral. It does not allow for planning in advance is requires strategic creativity and quick thinking.
These two campaigns both have their advantages, and if executed correctly can have a positive impact on the brand. If executed incorrectly, though, these campaigns can seriously hurt the brand’s image. As I mentioned above, in my recent class post I highlighted two brands that launched an on-time and a real-time campaign. They both happen to involve the major competing fast food chains, McDonalds and Burger King.
Burger King’s on-time marketing campaign features the ‘Nightmare’ Burger. This cheeseburger is stuffed with beef, chicken, bacon, cheese, and sits on a green bun. To bring attention to their brand Burger King focused on creating this limited time product centric to Halloween. The creative agency that works with Burger King collaborated with the chain to develop this item to add to their menu in an effort to drive sales and brand awareness.
McDonalds and their creative agency have been in the news recently as well for their play on Banksy’s shredding artwork. After a famous artist’s painting sold in auction for $1.4 million, it automatically shredded itself. This, of course, went viral on social media and the creatives at McDonalds’ agency took this opportunity to raise brand awareness. They were the first of many to recreate the scenario with a focus on the the brand’s iconic french fries. Like rapid fire, this recreation spread across social media building brand awareness and social media engagement for McDonalds.
These two campaigns were both successful… but why? Luck? Not exactly.
Both brands were able to leverage social media to draw attention to their campaign in a timely manor. Burger King launched its burger weeks before Halloween, well before many other food brands decided to launch their Halloween centric on-time campaigns. Timing also benefited McDonalds as they were one of the first brands to recreate Banksy’s artwork scenario. Other brands followed in McDonalds’ footsteps, but the mega burger chain stole the spotlight gained the largest benefit due to its timely execution.
Another factor that played into the success of both of these campaigns was a lack of force. Although there is nothing natural about Burger King’s green ‘Nightmare’ burger, it fit the brand and seemed appropriate for a greasy burger chain to release a questionably edible menu item. If Ruth Chris’s Steakhouse launched this burger, customers would flock in fear because it would be too far “off-brand” to consider. The same situation goes for McDonalds, as a fun and playful brand, recreating a piece of artwork that went viral seemed only fitting. To compare, if a less exciting brand, say Wells Fargo, decided to recreate the image of a dollar bill shredding through the frame, customers would question the values and morals of the brand and potentially switch banks.
Finally, these two brands were also successful with their campaigns due to the execution of the launch. Both brands immediately took to social media to launch, and with paired with the other success driving factors, each campaign gained serious engagement and virality. Each campaign was quickly shared multiple times by consumers and was highlighted by major news outlets and digital media websites.
For the first time in a long time, McDonalds and Burger King can celebrate their successes without competition.