Burger King has a long, proud history of pissing off its competitors at every opportunity. In the last 12 months alone, they’ve hijacked McDonald’s trademark over their Big Mac burger and offered one cent sandwiches to anyone who ordered from within 100 feet of a rival restaurant. After a while, the endless trolling starts to lose its impact. However, the flame-grilled franchise’s latest stunt might be their most audacious yet.
A new feature on the updated Burger King app allows customers to use virtual reality to “burn” advertisements from other fast food competitors. The “Burn That Ad” campaign utilises smartphone cameras, through which users can point at another fast food advert and enjoy the satisfaction of watching it get engulfed by virtual flames on screen. Whichever advert has just been incinerated then gets replaced by one for Burger King’s signature “Whopper”.
You might think that pretending to burn billboards is a pointless, if admittedly satisfying use of your time. However, there is more to the new feature than indulging digital pyromania. Anyone app user who takes part will be able to head to their nearest Burger King restaurant and claim a free Whopper sandwich as a reward for ridding the virtual world of inferior advertisements. This makes pretending to set fire to things that much more satisfying.
Originally created exclusively for Burger King customers in Brazil, The Drum report that the new technology “allows Burger King to turn the media investments of its main rival, such as billboards, magazine ads, discount coupons and others, into their ads of their own.” The marketing magazine have gone on to praise the fast food business for coming up with an ingenious way to turn the advertising strategy of others to their own advantage.
Speaking to The Drum, Burger King's marketing and sales director for Brazil, Ariel Grunkaut revealed that, “Technology as a means to provide the best customer experience is one of our main investment targets in 2019,” adding that, “To create the BK Express experience, our exclusive payment technology via mobile phone available all around Brazil, we offer some fun interaction in augmented reality for our brand's lovers through the app. And those using the service also gets a free Whopper." Whatever the strategy behind it, it’s certainly an inventive way to get attention.
Despite professional praise for the campaign’s ingenuity, it remains unclear whether the tool will be made available outside of Brazil. Regardless of whether or not “Burn That Ad” is treated to an international roll out, brand executives have revealed that they have high hopes for the feature’s success - suggesting that they expect to give away over half a million Whoppers during the course of the promotion. It looks like this is one burn that’s really going to sting the competition.