Burger King Takes Over Newsstands Nationwide

In what’s being heralded as “the biggest change to its menu in decades” fast food giant Burger King is adding hot dogs to its menu for the first time ever beginning today. The launch has included a heavy PR and advertising push nationwide and perhaps the most interesting and far reaching component has been print advertising.  Burger King took out full-page cover ads in the NY Post, NY Daily News, Chicago RedEye, Metro Philly, San Francisco Examiner, Houston Chronicle and Express DC. Agencies working with Burger King’s marketing team on this stunt included Horizon, Code and Theory and Alison Brod Public Relations.

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Target: Full-page cover ads in metropolitan daily papers are pretty pricey. Print has potential to reach a very broad and general audience (which I seems to be the overarching goal of the campaign). However, the decision to focus heavily on print seems to be an intentional investment into reaching middle-aged consumers, who are the main readers of print news magazines and newspapers according to Pew Research. Another cross-section targeted by these advertisements are urban residents, as the ads will run in urban areas such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, Houston and San Francisco.

Insight: Despite the skinny menus and healthy choices infiltrating the fast food industry,  Americans eat more than 20 billion hot dogs a year. According to business analysts at Wired, these dogs aren’t for the “healthy choice” seekers but the type of consumer who “go[es] for the classic junk foods that were once the pride of the industry.”

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Brand Idea: According to Burger King’s president of North American operations, Alex Macedo, this is the biggest menu change since the chain began offering chicken in 1979. Grilled dogs are a really big deal. In fact, they’re breaking news and the American public needs to be made aware of them in their daily paper (and a YouTube ad with Snoop Dogg doesn’t hurt either).

Objective: Increase consumer awareness and sales of Burger King’s offerings besides burgers, especially its grilled dogs.

Strengths: Studies suggest that consumers are more trusting of print advertising than other mediums and print readers are more likely to be influential on the purchase decisions of others consumers than the average consumer.

Weaknesses: Burger King did not disclose how much the covers cost, but I can only assume that it was pretty expensive and its nearly impossible to measure return on a campaign like this unless there was some sort of coupon inside.

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