Burger King 'Whopper Neutrality' ad yields huge returns in free media

| by S.A. Whitehead
Burger King 'Whopper Neutrality' ad yields huge returns in free media

Three months after focusing a very serious social issue ad on the problem of bullying, Burger King is now using its marketing voice to criticize the FCC's action in December to reverse net neutrality regulations formerly enacted by the Obama administration. 

Burger King is generating widespread global media buzz after its new "social experiment" ad first aired Wednesday, making it clear that the QSR is no fan of the Trump administration’s repeal of net neutrality measures.

The repeal of net neutrality means that internet providers could charge customers based on their internet use. Smaller online content providers claim that the loss of neutrality will allow internet service providers either to slow user access to their content or to charge higher rates for higher-speed access.

Critics of the FCC decision claim that it flies in the face of the concept of the internet as a level playing field that belongs to all users alike.

The company makes its point through metaphor, staging the commercial in a hypothetical Burger King store that features a Whopper "fast lane." Customers who fork over $25.99 get their order at lightning speed, those who pay $12.99 for the same order get reasonably expedient service, and those who pay just $4.99 find themselves cooling their heels for up to 20 minutes. 

"You can't give me the sandwich? It's ready, but you can't give it to me?" a dumbfounded customer asks. "Oh, my God, this is the worst thing I've ever heard of!"

By taking a stance held by the majority of consumers in the coveted 18–35 age group, Burger King not only builds esprit de corps with these potential customers, but also gains incalculable benefit from that Holy Grail of marketing — free media coverage. 

As to that, the brand has done phenomenally well with its second in a series of social issue ads. By early this morning, the story had spread through dozens of print and broadcast news outlets, not to mention untold billions of social media accounts. 

Topics: Burger/Steak/BBQ, Business Strategy and Profitability, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Social Responsibility

S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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