In case you missed it, yesterday Burger King launched a genius campaign to form a one-time-only coalition with its nemesis, McDonald’s.
Why? To celebrate, and raise awareness of, World Peace Day on September 21st.
A website was launched, full page press ads ran in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune – the paper local to McDonald’s HQ – and a 90-second video was uploaded to Youtube, talking about how both BK and Maccie D’s have the “size, scope and resources to help make the world a better place.”
It’s a brilliant move from Burger King. A real win/win situation.
Straight away they look good for instigating the cease-fire in the name of the greater good. Even if it is a somewhat transparent marketing stunt, it still raises awareness for Peace Day. And as Jeremy Gilley, Founder of Peace One Day, says, “awareness creates action and action saves lives.”
But what’s really great about it from a BK marketing point of view, is that McDonald’s’ response in no way affects the impact of the campaign.
If they go for it – great. It’ll be a cool campaign and a bit of fun for the brands, all for a good cause. And if they don’t fancy it, BK still have the positive press and McDonald’s instantly look like the bad guys – which is exactly what’s happened.
The almost-instantaneous response from Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s CEO, smacks of bitterness and panic. His invitation for Burger King to join McDonald’s in a “meaningful global effort” and tackle “the real pain and suffering of war” doesn’t read anywhere near as altruistically as whoever wrote it might have hoped. Rather, it makes him sound like a kid who’s run off with the ball because he’s afraid he’s going to lose the game. Clanger.
Furthermore, it’s completely hollow when you consider McDonald’s’ unwavering sponsorship of the 2022 FIFA World Cup – despite the fact that it’s been widely condemned for already costing the lives of hundreds of migrant workers.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a little more back and forth between the two brands over the next few days as McDonald’s tries to regain some ground. But when the dust settles, they’ll only have dug themselves into a deeper hole and Burger King will still be wearing the crown.
This post was originally published on the BURN blog.