Burger King released a new marketing campaign, The Beauty of No Artificial Preservatives, featuring a video of a Whopper over the course of 34 days with lettuce wilting, meat decaying and mold spores spreading. This marketing stunt was released to promote Burger King’s initiative to remove artificial preservatives and ingredients from their products and will roll out preservative-free Whoppers across the US by end of 2020.
This is pretty interesting considering a fast-food company focused on making consumers crave their products through commercials has taken this approach. Burger King’s International Chief Marketing Officer, Fernando Machado said in a press release, “At Burger King, we believe that real food tastes better. That’s why we are working to remove preservatives, colors, and flavors from artificial sources from the food we serve in all countries around the world” (Business Wire 2020).
The video is visually off-putting and doesn’t exactly make your mouth water, but the message is strong, ‘We don’t put preservatives in our food, but our competitors can’t say the same’. Burger King isn’t the first to draw attention to the number of preservatives used in fast-food products. A display in Iceland contains fries and a hamburger from Burger King’s rival, McDonald’s, from 2009 with no signs of decay over 11 years that can be live-streamed from all over the world.
Although controversial, this marketing tactic gets people talking, generates buzz, directly increases customer attention, sticks in customers’ memories, and could either lead to higher sales or a negative perception of the brand. I think this was a brilliant move by Burger King. As consumer tastes shift toward healthier and more sustainable alternatives, especially in the plant-based era of vegan ‘meats’, Burger King has yet again innovated to remain relevant. The Impossible Whopper has proven to be a large success and has put Burger King on track for a 3.5% bump in same-store sales (CNBC 2019) and now hopes to boost sales across all of its products that are being advertised as natural and preservative-free.
Unusual marketing tactics have shown to pay off for brands, “…in today’s age of social media, a controversial marketing tactic will rapidly draw in attention on social media sites and be subject to a social network buzz. This will increase brand awareness and in turn generate more sales, which is the main result of any marketing campaign (Business Insights 2014). Burger King’s ad campaign is very memorable and aims at using a shocking approach to generate sales and appealing to customers through its natural products while still remaining true to its brand voice.
“New York Client Solutions Host Debate: Controversial Marketing Tactics — Memorable or Ruthless?” PRWeb Newswire 7 Jan. 2014. Business Insights: Global. Web. 26 Feb. 2020.