We all love a brand that knows how to enhance its public image with a healthy dose of humor. A witty approach to advertising and a sense of self-awareness can be invaluable in delivering a message to consumers. Burger King, however, doesn’t seem to think so – not anymore.
The fast food brand recognized as having one of the creepiest mascots imaginable – the “King” – announced recently that it will be removing said mascot from its repertoire of brand imagery. The company’s new focus? The food.
Here’s a quick reminder of what we’ll be missing from here on out:
It’s strange that BK has chosen to nix the King. In a surreal way, the mascot made perfect sense: it was funny, it was memorable, and it had the whole ‘kingliness’ thing going for it. When it first appeared in commercials, it positioned Burger King as one of the most noteworthy brands to rely on comedic advertisements.
Why would BK want to pull away from what would seem to be – for all intents and purposes – an effective approach to advertising? The short answer (according to one article) is to compete:
“Burger King executives have said during analyst conference calls this year that the burger chain will try to broaden its demographic appeal by showcasing products that will spark interest in users such as mothers and families – away from the typical younger male consumers.”
Lo and behold, BK’s newest ad seems geared toward a much broader audience:
The ad is slick, stylish, and even a bit appetizing. There’s just one problem: it’s not all that funny. It’s a fantastic spot, but there’s a noticeable lack of requisite BK creepiness here – something that consumers have simply come to expect from the fast food behemoth.
Obviously, Burger King is no longer aiming for the funny bone. Intead, they’re attempting to convey the superiority of their food. Their new commercial may be a showpiece for the California Whopper, but it immediately calls to mind just about every burger that the brand offers. In fact, we can reasonably expect to see future ads from the company take a similar stylistic approach.
Commercials like this aren’t going to make younger viewers chuckle as before, but if BK is trying to market to “mothers and families,” then this is arguably a better way to go about it. If they’re trying to convey the freshness of their ingredients, then this is certainly a huge step in the right direction, seeing as how the visuals in the new ad definitely reinforce the attractiveness of the ingredients.
USA Today points to another interesting fact about the new marketing approach:
“Industry experts say the move may be Burger King’s best bet of giving Ronald McDonald any hint of competition. In a world where Cheesecake Factory now has a low-cal menu and even Sizzler touts the freshness of its grub, Burger King is latching onto the all-critical fresh-and-healthy-food factor.”
It makes sense. BK has never been synonymous with healthfulness, and a shift in that direction isn’t necessarily a bad idea for the brand. The food service industry in general – under constant scrutiny from health organizations and advocacy groups – is making the move toward offering healthier alternatives to traditional menu items. Burger King was going to have to join the health movement sooner or later. Of course, there’s always the possibility that their sudden shift may prove too little, too late. Consumers may not be willing to abruptly change their minds about formerly comedic brand so soon.
In any case, Burger King has made its bed, and now it has to lie in it – no matter what the effect may be on its brand image.
In truth, perhaps the safest bet would’ve been to stick to the original approach:
What say you, blog enthusiasts? Will BK be the same without the “King”? Respond below.
Image source: tedmurphy