Brands have flocked to social media in an attempt to meet their consumers where they are and display a different side of themselves. Social media can be a terrific place to build bonds with one’s customers and show off a clever, avant-garde sense of humor – if a brand is good at it. And every once in a while, a brand does social media so “next-level” that seemingly the entire online world notices.
And this week, Burger King was that brand.
The story starts in a familiar way for anyone who’s found themselves caught in drive-thru lane for too long. They whip out their phone, navigate to a brand’s Facebook page or Twitter account and log their complaint.
“We waited two hours in McDrive!” one dissatisfied Danish commuter posted to Facebook, according to Adweek. The customer didn’t hear anything back. Until they did – from Burger King.
“Well, everyone can have a slow day in fast food,” responded Burger King. “Here’s a quick Whopper” – attaching a coupon for a free burger.
And Denmark’s Burger King didn’t stop at one customer. With an assist from ad agency Uncle Grey, the chain scrolled back years through McDonald’s Facebook feed to seek out the dissatisfied and offer them free Whoppers.
“Customer service should be fit for a king,” Burger King exclaimed in a video about the guerilla-marketing campaign. “And while we’re not perfect, we do our best to help everyone. Even our old friends.”
And they were seemingly helping everyone. For the customer who got a Big Mac with only one bun? A free Whopper.
Another user complained their Big Mac was too small. “In their defense … nobody wants a ‘Small Mac,'” answered Burger King. “Here’s a regular Whopper.”
Daniel Schroder, marketing director at Burger King Sweden and Denmark, told Adweek that the new social media push grew out of an effort to fix the chain’s own online communications with guests.
“When addressing this, we realized there are even more burger fans out there who deserve a reply,” Schroder said. “We did what we can to help out, hoping some flame-grilled Whopper love can help make things better again.”
Burger King delivered vouchers for free Whoppers directly to customers’ mobile phones, although that required customers to offer up their phone numbers. That meant the chain wasn’t just leveraging a chance to delight the competition’s disgruntled customers, but was also opening up communications through which the chain could push future special offers and other updates.
And thus far, it seems the campaign has done an effective job of turning customers’ heads.
“Wow,” responded one customer after Burger King reached out. “I’m surprised. What a service.”
“What a gesture,” responded another consumer. Another simply commented with the words: “Thanks — Respect,” according to Inc.
Steak-umm Bites Into COVID-19 Misinformation
Respect indeed – for what might be the cleverest social media ad campaign of the year. Burger King’s effort was funny, fun and managed to directly poach customers from its biggest competitor.
But the honorable mention could go to frozen-steak brand Steak-umm, which for years has amused consumers with its irreverent Twitter feed. But it was recently crowned by some as COVID-19’s fact-checker-in-chief.
“friendly reminder in times of uncertainty and misinformation: anecdotes are not data. (good) data is carefully measured and collected information based on a range of subject-dependent factors, including, but not limited to, controlled variables, meta-analysis and randomization,” Steak-umm tweeted out, starting a series of tweets that quickly went viral.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper and other fans lauded Steak-umm for fighting COVID-19 misinformation instead of touting frozen steaks. Steak-umm even commented on how weird it was that a food brand was doing that job.
Did it work? Well, probably not as well as Burger King’s social media campaign. But it did manage to change some minds about Steak-umm, which might have been the point.
“I’m impressed, never had a steak-umm, never used the word, but will try ’em out,” one Twitter user reportedly wrote.