Burger King kids scheme fuels row

Fast food giant Burger King is courting controversy after launching a loyalty card for ten- to 16-year-olds. The Diageo-owned chain claims BK buzz is the first national loyalty card in the UK fast food sector.

But pressure group Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming – says the card will encourage children to eat more fatty burgers.

Sustain coordinator Jeanette Longfield says: “They might be the first fast food chain to do this – but they won’t be on their own for long.”

Children accumulate points when they buy a value meal. They will be offered discounts on CDs at HMV for the next eight weeks.

Burger King is also in talks to extend the scheme into cinema, fashion and home entertainment offers. It will be left to partners to verify the age of claimants.

BK buzz kards will be available from on-counter dispensers and will also be distributed with copies of teenage magazines such as Smash Hits, J17, the Official Nintendo magazine and Computer and Video Games, which will carry advertorials about the scheme.

Burger King marketing manager Mark Palmer says: “Older kids want to be treated more like adults and order from the main menu, instead of buying kids’ meals.”

BK buzz was designed by sales promotion agency Billington Cartmell and will be supported with TV ads created by Lowe Lintas. Media buying and planning is being handled through Carat.

But Burger King is entering the controversial ‘pester power’ arena which has dominated marketing this year.

The Co-op retail arm CWS asked the Independent Television Commission (ITC) to ban ads for unhealthy foods (MW July 6).

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