In a Tough Market, Burger King Proves Why PR Should Never Be Sacrificed

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None of my Facebook friends de-friended me for a fraction of a Whopper (though, like my AMP3 colleague, I have been awkwardly de-friended before, just never for beef).  But according to the stats, over 230,000 “friends” were “sacrificed” via the most recent Facebook App web-campaign, where by axing 10 friends from your account could get you a voucher (mailed to you) for a free Whopper.

The “Whopper Sacrifice” campaign was truly ingenious, even though it only lasted a week, with Facebook closing the application due to “privacy issues” (the person you de-friended would be notified of the “sacrifice”).

Here’s the breakdown as I see it:

1.     Assuming the campaign the campaign is a wild success with no problems, you’ve got a wildly successful campaign that has no problems.  Win for BK (and, by proxy, the PR folks behind the effort).

2.     If the campaign had controversy, which it did, then Burger King would remain in the spotlight longer than it would have otherwise, and therefore it garnered more publicity.  For Burger King, the coverage has been in their favor, so this is a win for them (and a double win for the PR team).

3.     If the campaign wasn’t successful, it was limited to the Internet.  And though the Web is a powerful tool, lackluster results wouldn’t have damaged the brand’s identity; it simply would have been something people saw and didn’t opt into on Facebook (which is par for the course as far as Facebook apps go).  No harm nor foul to BK (a draw for the PR team).

It seems like a pretty successful campaign to me.

And it’s successful campaigns like this that, fortunately, show why PR is a relevant cost for businesses in this unfortunate market.

Yes, coming from someone working in PR, it seems pretty obvious that I would encourage those with business ventures to subscribe to the services we offer, but I don’t consider my stance on the “Whopper Sacrifice” campaign to be a sales pitch.  The truth of the matter is that people who continue to brand themselves (via any means necessary, and large or small) through this recession will find themselves in a better position than their counterparts.

Granted, Burger King outted bad friends and allegedly broke the sacred privacy bond between Facebook and its users (ed. Does Facebook really even uphold that bond anymore?), it still managed to do so in a very successful way.  Success like that should be acknowledged justly, and that’s what I’m doing.

Side note: while discussing the campaign with friends and colleagues, the general consensus was, “sounds awesome, but I unfortunately don’t like Burger King.  Now, if it were Wendy’s or something, then I’d be interested…”  Additionally, I’d like to note that should Wendy’s ever do something like Burger King, I’d totally sell my brother and 9 others down the river for a crispy chicken sandwich.  AND I’d be ok with them being notified of the barter.

Jackie for 

Updated by Danielle Oct 30 2017

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