Tuesday, December 18, 2007

... But They Have Good Ads!

Despite the fact that I did work at McDonald's one year during high school (which some of my guy friends would never let me live down--they would come through the drive-thru and harass me by ordering items McD's doesn't have, like Whoppers), I have never really been a fan of any fast-food restaurant. These days, during our occasional five-hour drive home to Michigan, we will usually stop at Arby's (where I eat the roast beef sandwich without the bun--which isn't that bad for you--plus, Arby's sauce is the best!)... and I did have French Toast Sticks at Burger King once within the past year--but that's about it.

It's long been known that these types of "restaurants" serve extremely unhealthy food, but within certain circles, Burger King is deemed the worst of the worst. That may be true, but guess what? Their new commercials are hilarious! Whoever controls their menu items and refuses to use healthier ingredients may be an evil bastard, but their advertising agency rocks the house!

I could not find the new ads online, but they are basically the funniest clips pulled from the 7.5-minute video below, entitled "Whopper Freak-out." If you haven't heard about the "Whopper Freak-out" yet, what they did was tell everyone who ordered a Whopper at a certain Burger King one day that it had been discontinued. They had hidden cameras behind the counters, and some of the reactions they caught were priceless. The best was the guy who suggested, in what seemed to be complete seriousness, that they "might as well change their name to Burger Queen."

As a marketing person, what I found most interesting about the video was that it wasn't even like the majority of people were mad that they couldn't have the Whopper to eat... it was more that the thought of the Whopper going away made them sad because of all of the good memories they had about that particular item. The whole thing reminded me of the time I was interviewed about Triscuits several years ago (shout-out to CM!) as part of a customer research effort. I found myself talking only about "making Triscuits" (which in my family means melting cheese and then putting Lawry's seasoning salt over Triscuits) and nothing about how the cracker even tasted. It was the emotional connection those little wheat crackers stirred up that made me keep buying them.

One thing is for sure, we Americans are crazy about our food, so trust that the Whopper isn't going anywhere any time soon. Just remember the next time you have a Double Whopper with Cheese that you also just had HALF of (what should be) your daily calorie intake. Blame it on the ads!

- e

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