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BK's Red Carpet Campaign
By: Michael Lindquist
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Burger King’s creepy King may have forever scarred us, but our nightmares have turned into wild fantasies with BK’s most recent campaign. The ads feature a sampling of celebrities and some new menu items that aim to entice new customers. After abandoning the disturbing King ads, Burger King made the decision to focus more on their menu. Commercials featured fresh lettuce and tomatoes instead of a strange man in a plastic mask. Eventually, the creative minds at Mother, New York came up with a series of ads that have helped spread the word about BK’s new menu. 

The menu
may be new to Burger King, but consumers have seen this menu before. McDonald’s menu has become more diverse over the last decade, and BK has been struggling to keep up with the Golden Arches. “Borrowing” or stealing from McDonald’s is nothing new. After all, why not do as the winners do? It is understood that Burger King opens up restaurants within walking distance of a McDonald’s in order to compete, but they are more like the annoying tagalong. It was vital for BK to separate themselves from the competition with a creative plan of attack. 

The ads feature various celebrities in line at your local Burger King, but the star-struck BK employees have a tough time keeping it together and find themselves gushing over their celebrity customers. David Beckham and Salma Hayek have appeared in several ads, each more ridiculous than the next. Steven Tyler was eventually added to the Burger King payroll when he was featured as an unqualified BK employee. There was also an ad that featured Mary J. Blige, but controversy arose regarding the ad’s racial implications. The ad was pulled from the air, but Burger King claimed that the controversy was not the reason for pulling the ad. 

Celebrity endorsements are tricky. When brands enlist the services of a famous athlete or vocal artist, the brand takes on the core values of the celebrity. When brands use multiple celebrity endorsements, it comes off as desperate. Using David Beckham seems to be an odd choice because the soccer superstar already represents so many brands. Beckham is the European Michael Jordan when it comes to endorsements. Beckham even did an underwear ad for H&M during this year’s Super Bowl. There are so many creative ways to tell people about your brand that it seems a bit lazy and expensive to involve the endless number of celebrities for BK’s relaunch.

Ads are fun, but advertising isn’t all about entertainment. I’ve enjoyed most of BK’s recent advertisements, but I still pick Mickey D’s over the King every time. Perhaps it will take another two or three celebrities to persuade me. Although the ads get our attention, audiences connect with the Average Joe better than the celebrity superstar. Low involvement products like fast food have relied heavily on celebrity endorsements, but endorsements can be extremely costly and ineffective. How much is Burger King willing to spend to win us over? Maybe it’s a question of who rather than how much. BK hasn’t used Blake Griffin or Snooki yet, but who knows where this jam-packed, celebrity-infused campaign will take us?

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About the Author
Michael Lindquist has a strong passion for art, entertainment, and advertising. As a child, he learned it was okay to color outside the lines, because the lines only restrict your creativity and imagination. Find him online here.
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