Burger King’s savage ideas of mocking its competitor


Kevin Urrutia




May 05, 2024

The food industry is an ever-developing one.  As people’s lifestyles have changed, so have their eating habits. The ratios of the civilians consuming ready-to-eat foods or eating outside has increased incredibly. 

With such a dramatic change in the feeding practices, the restaurants providing fast-food are getting crowded. You can see a lot of fast-food franchisees as soon as you step outside your house. Restaurants on both sides of the roads are visible to one’s eyes. 

Among these franchisees, McDonald’s is one of the most senior eateries in the world, established in the year 1955. While, Burger King that was started even a year before Mcdonald’s, lags behind in the market.  

Mc Donald’s has been admired by children and young adults for decades. Despite having a high rank in the market, this chain of fast-food has been stepped over in the marketing game by Burger King.  

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Over the past few years, Burger King has developed various methods to mock at the Mc Donald’s franchisees across the globe. The King has mainly targeted the fact that a clown is a Mascot for its rival. 

Carrying out campaigns with a clown theme like “never trust a clown” or “escape the clown” has been a major comeback of the King to the McDonalds. 

Let us explore the campaigns that Burger King fabricated to get back at McDonald’s.

1. Never trust a clown

McDonald’s decided to put the clown Ronald McDonald as its mascot in 1963. And there was always an iconic bench outside a McD store with the statue of the clown sitting on it. Visitors would enjoy clicking pictures with the clown and sharing it with their friends.

It was good marketing for the Mc until September of 2017 when a horror film was released featuring the clown as evil. Without leaving a chance, Burger King hi-jacked the movie to own it as its longest advertisement. 

Showing a line “Never trust a clown” at the end of the movie and shocking the audience, BK definitely became a topic of discussion. It also twisted the Mc’s famous tagline “I’m lovin it” to Burger King lovin “IT”.

2. Scary clown night

The sneering of the clown continued on. A new campaign of the Hamburger chain (BK) gave the customers an offer to come dressed as a clown on the 31st of October, Halloween night to redeem a free whopper. 

The announcement for this promotion was scarily amazing. It was stamped with a #ScaryClownNight tag. 

Accompanied with the slogan “Come as a clown, eat like a king”, the promotion proved to be a huge success for the B King’s chain. One revolutionary Halloween night raised its sales worldwide by 15%. 

The clown-teasing doesn’t just stop here, it goes on to targeting children’s birthday parties with yet another publicity.

3. birthdays should be happy

A lot of toddlers are afraid of clowns. Burger King has targeted this by taking this trolling of the clown forward. It has posted pictures of kids who cried when carried by a joker. 

The freight is clearly evident from the photos of these kids. Supporting the pictures with a short quote “Birthdays should be happy” added to effective marketing and attention-seeking of Burger King. 

Taking a break from this, the King’s ragging shifted to mocking the name of meals provided by McDonald’s.

4. Not the Big Mac

The campaign had targeted the Big Mac burger provided by the McDonald’s which did justify its name. When Donald’s failed at getting an EU trademark on this name, the competitor decided to take a clever troll on this. 

It generated its own customized menu with the spoof of Big Mac, named Not Big Mac’s.

The menu is hilariously on point. When customers ask for the meal, it turns out being even funnier. No offense to McDonald’s but this was indeed a very clever move. Salute to the marketing experts here. 

5. Feel your way

Moving on to the old-famous McDonald’s special Happy Meal. Giving a toy complementary to the meal had been a great sales generated especially when the customers included kids. 

Burger King didn’t leave this happy meal alone. Instead, it portrayed to the civilians that no one is happy all the time. It crafted a new meal category featured as a real meal for real-time moods other than happy – the yaaas meal for excitement, salty meal for when you are low, the pissed meal for angry times, the DGAF meal for when you don’t really care, and the blue meal for when you do not feel on top of the world. 

Apart from the meals, it went on to joke that McDonald’s did not provide flame-grilled burgers. 

6. Why roast when you can’t grill

There was one time when the Mc decided to have a comeback to its ruthless challenger. But missed the mark and was hunted down once again.

McDonald’s had put up an outdoor sign outside Burger King’s outlet that read “Served by a king or as a king?”. The aim here was to show off the table service which was not provided by the latter. 

The reply to this bill-board was even wiser. The BK said…

Yes, it had the upper hand in getting recognition even this time!

7. Escape the clown

Not only this, the B King has gone further than just putting up hoardings or crafting funny menus to as far as making mobile applications to mock its rivals. 

So, it took the help of app developers for creating an Augmented Reality (AR) feature on the application for its marketing. When the surroundings in McDonald’s were scanned through this feature, it showed some paranormal activity on the screens. 

Coinciding the release of IT: Chapter Two, the event was called Escape the clown. Users enjoyed it a lot. The customers had to escape the diner within a countdown to receive a coupon that could be used to get a whopper (Burger King specialty) for an astonishingly low cost of one cent. Yes, you heard it right, one cent!

Despite the quick countdown, the consumers greatly appreciated the deal, generating even more Burger King admirers. 

8. Burn the ad

The most recent digital campaign of burger king was again based on the artificial reality titled “Burn that ad”. 

This not only targeted McDonald’s but also any other rivals in the food industry. This Brazilian Burger King app feature gave the opportunity to claim a free whopper to anyone who burned off the advertisements of their competitors (not literally of course).

The app users enjoyed the virtual view of burning ads in exchange for getting free whoppers. The deal was not at all bad. 

Burger King has time and again won the hearts of the audience with its stunning ad campaigns through traditional as well as digital methods of marketing. Not only engaging the population on its ads but it has also succeeded in getting increased profits and recognition with the smart commercials.

Taking these facts into consideration, it proves that Burger King has extraordinary marketing support. We must all learn from it that unique approaches are necessary to stay away from deflation. 

However, it is not necessary that you need to mock your rivals for the sole purpose of marketing your restaurant or any business as a matter of fact. But you definitely need to think differently and do something that not many businesses have done before. 

As it is a digital era, marketing digitally would prove to be advantageous and cost-effective in comparison to traditional methods. If you are not very accustomed to planning marketing strategies, it is a good idea to consult an expert in the respective niche. 

Share your favorite marketing campaign in the comments below!


Author’s Bio: Krunal Soni is the founder and CEO of Thrillax Private Limited, a digital marketing company. He holds expertise in diverse fields. His 15+ year spree in this field has earned him clients, and their faith in his tactics. His intelligent strategies have put Thrillax among the leaders of Digital Marketing as per the Clutch report of 2019. A systematic approach, transparent processes and friendly mentoring have allowed him to prioritize and manage a work-life balance.

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