Cannes Lions

Escape the clown

GRABARZ & PARTNER, Hamburg / BURGER KING / 2020

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Overview

Background

McDonald’s Germany has it’s own movie magazine, published monthly with a circulation of 800.000 copies. It‘s the best-known movie magazine in Germany. Since the rivalry between McDonald’s and Burger King has always been a motivation to come up with bold ideas, Burger King sneaked a practically impossible ad in the magazine.

Burger King and McDonald’s are the two most relevant fast food burger joints in Germany. Studies show, that 71% of Burger King customers also go to McDonald’s (Source: npd Group Deutschland, CREST 2019), if the offer is right. So where could we reach those disloyal customers better, than directly at the location of their betrayal – the restaurants of the competition.

With this extravagant media placement, the help of technology, and the buzz around the release of the horror-clown movie „IT – Chapter 2” a well-orchestrated campaign invited fast food lovers to escape the clown for a delicious Whopper.

Idea

We made the impossible possible: a BK ad in McDonald's own movie magazine. Choosing the perfect movie release to poke fun at McDonald’s and their mascot Ronald McDonald: the release of the horror clown saga ”IT -Chapter 2”.

With AR, the "IT 2" article, published by McDonald’s in 800.000 copies all over Germany, became a BK ad and turned every McDonald’s into an interactive Burger King experience. Part of the idea was – knowing that fast food customers aren’t particularly loyal – to directly target especially disloyal guests at McDonald’s.

To call on them to escape the clown and literally run away from McDonald’s, the Burger King app used customer’s indivual GPS data to create a time limited coupon, only valid for the time it took to get to the next Burger King. And if they were fast enough, they were rewarded with our incentive: a Whopper from the King

Strategy

Fast food customers are not particularly loyal. 71% of Burger King customers also go to McDonald’s, if the offer is right. To reach those disloyal customers, we directly targeted them at the location of their betrayal – the restaurants of the competition. Altough our “bait” was a free whopper, we generated extra income because customers tend to turn a free product into a meal or order extra stuff.

The extravagant media placement in McDonalds own movie magazine, combined with the Augmented Reality technology and the buzz around the release of the horror-clown movie „IT – Chapter 2” was a strategically well planned move to call on fast food lovers to escape the clown for a delicious Whopper.

Execution

On the day of the launch, we went to McDonald’s, took an edition of the magazine fresh of the printing press, scanned the „IT 2” article and turned it into an AR marker. Only visible when using the Burger King app. With one magazine, we hacked 800.000 printed articles in every McDonald’s all over Germany.

Geo-located push notifications and social media ads targeted customers directly at McDonald’s, also an online film and banners were released. Thereby we promoted the download of the BK app and registrations at the customer loyalty program. Customers engaged with the interactive AR experience, that turned every McDonald’s into a Burger King experience. The app used geo-location data and calculated with GPS the time it took to the nearest BK. A coupon – valid only for exact this time – was issued. Customers who made it in time from McDonald’s to BK redeemed the coupon.

Outcome

One hacked magazine enabled Burger King to engage with disloyal customers right in McDonald’s own media – using a branded mobile interaction in the Burger King app. With the buzz around the movie release of “IT – Chapter 2”, the campaign gathered even broader attention.

As we turned the movie article in McDonald’s movie magazine into an Augmented Reality marker, every one of the 800.000 magazines “involuntarily” became a Burger King ad. At 1473 McDonald’s, push notifications reached their customers. We reached 4 million McDonald’s customers in total. Boosting registrations for BK’s customer loyalty program „MyBK” to a plus of +180%.

The unusual coupon in the experience increased Burger King restaurant traffic by +11,8%. With this extravagant placement, the help of technology and the buzz around the release of the horror-clown movie „IT – Chapter 2” a well-orchestrated campaign invited fast food lovers to escape the clown for a Whopper

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