Burger King, the king of fast food, doesn’t rule in Saudi Arabia. With other brands dominating the market and new local joints popping up weekly, the brand was facing tough competition and slowly losing market share among the youth, to more trendy and modern brands. Within this context, our brief was to launch an enhanced version of Burger King’s hero sandwich “The whopper”. However, the whopper doesn’t have much equity in Saudi especially among the young generation. Accordingly, our challenge was not only to launch the enhanced whopper but to ignite interest and push for trial among an audience that is less familiar with our sandwich.
Describe the strategy
Our solution started by examining the social chatter regarding Burger King’s whopper. A key observation was that burger in Arabic have several written variations as the language lacks the sound “G” like in Burgers. This difference in writing is a source of ongoing online debate among the language speakers.
So, to launch our enhanced whopper, we thought of going into the bigger Burger world and not just the whopper, by high jacking and fueling an existing debate. To do so, we posted some lousy tweets and lighthearted videos where the voice-over and our actors were purposely spelling burger like “Burjer” or “Burker”.
This approach of pronouncing burger in different variations, led many of our fans to jump in and teach us how to say the world correctly. By not taking sides, we elevated our brand and whopper and won the online feud.
Describe the execution
We launched with a fake post promoting our enhanced whopper while pronouncing Burger as “Burker”; followed by tweets with intentional wrong pronunciations like “Burjer” and “Borghor” … the tweets fueled the internet and people started debating on how to say Burger.
Then we released a light-hearted video of two young men at a Burger King drive-through, arguing on the proper way to say “Burger”. Their discussion continued but our characters changed into some imaginary Arabic schoolteachers to dramatize the story. In the end, one of them asks the drive-through staff on the proper way to say burger. The reply comes: “it doesn’t matter as long as it is a whopper.
Finally, to solve the pronunciation dilemma, we asked people to use an adapted letter that would reflect the true sound as in Burger.
Our campaign lasted for a month and mostly relied on social networks to spread the message.
List the results
Instead of narrowly focusing on our Whopper Sandwich, we went full fledge into the bigger “Burger World” by literally fueling a nationwide conversation on how to pronounce the “Burger” word in Arabic, while offering a solution to an age-old feud among the language speakers. During which, our brand saw a spike in social chatter, where brand mentions outperformed our highest spending competitor by 16% and eclipsed our YoY brand mentions by a factor of 16.
Along with brand mentions we saw a 25% increase in followers, 61.2 million impressions, 16 million campaign views & a total of more than $2.4 million in PR value.
On a business level, our goal was to double the whopper sales, which we not only did, but overachieved it by 18%. Our results were crowned by an overall sales increase of 4.2% on average per store; An achievement, in a very competitive category.