The appeal of a moldy Whopper: Learning from an effective ad campaign

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What happens to a Burger King Whopper when you let it decompose? An ad campaign that is making headlines.

On Wednesday, the fast-food chain unveiled ads featuring the transformation of its signature sandwich over a month. The crisp lettuce wilts as the bread collapses. The flame-broiled middle turns from brown to white. Fuzz then takes over the sandwich, engulfing the pickles and tomatoes. The bread turns a greenish-gray and then blue.

Why would Burger King make such an ad?

To show what happens when a hamburger doesn’t use artificial ingredients, colors, or flavors.

The marketing officer behind the campaign explains: “I think it works so well because it’s like you’re showing something that in theory should be negative. But you’re showing it in a really beautiful way.”

The ad campaign works for at least three reasons.

One: It makes the point it intends to make. We’ve all
seen ads that were entertaining but left us confused as to their message. Or
ads that were interesting but didn’t point to the product or company they were
supposed to be selling.

Two: It strikes a chord with our culture. There’s an intense interest today in eating organic, protecting the environment, and generally getting “back to nature.” Burger King showed us empirically that their hamburger is made only of natural, thus compostable, materials. In a different era, this message would be less interesting, but it resonates today.

Three: It is sparking interest on other platforms. I
saw the ad not on television but in Forbes. When other media make your
ad their story, you’re using their influence to advance your own.

Learning from an effective ad campaign

Let’s apply these three principles to our Great Commission
mandate to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

One: It is vital that our witness point to the One
for whom we are a witness. John the Baptist’s mantra should be ours: “He
must increase, but…

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