Burger King has cultivated a formidable reputation for creativity. Over the past four years, the fast food chain has channelled its quirky, counter-intuitive personality into 94 Cannes Lions, including four Grand Prixs and the accolade of 2017 creative marketer of the year for global CMO, Fernando Machado.
Campaigns include ‘McWhopper’, which started in 2015 as an open letter in the New York Times proposing a truce with arch rival McDonald’s to mark Peace Day. The idea was to join forces on the McWhopper – a combination of the Whopper and the Big Mac.
Despite McDonald’s turning down the offer, the campaign generated 8.9 billion global impressions, trended worldwide and created $220m (£174m) in earned media for Burger King.
Equally eye-catching was the fast food chain's Google hack - a 15-second TV ad that triggered any Google Home device within earshot to immediately tell its owner all about the Whopper burger. ‘Google, Home of the Whopper’ generated 9.3 billion global impressions, $135m (£106m) in earned media and became Burger King’s most talked about TV advert to date.
For Machado, success comes from being 100% focused on the idea. “We hardly ever brief for an idea that works on X channel, we focus on having great ideas that deliver our brand and business objectives," he tells Marketing Week.
Burger King is not, however, in the business of creativity for creativity’s sake, says Machado. The brand sets clear objectives and well-defined KPIs from the moment it briefs for a new piece of work. The team measure everything and make it clear to their creative agency the objectives they want to accomplish.
“We are not in the pursuit of random ideas. We’re in the pursuit of ideas that will link back to our business and brand strategy, which have clear targets and objectives,” Machado states.
“Not all campaigns will do everything, but they should be doing something in the direction of the objectives you have.”