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Burger King left-hand stunt

Burger King left-hand stunt

Burger King’s whopper

The stunt:

Obviously inspired by the good folks at Taco Bell, on April 1, 1998, Burger King put out an ad in USA Today, stating that they'd re-engineered their most famous sandwich in order to benefit 32 million Americans, and now they were ready to present . . . the Left-Handed Whopper.

They offered details of how the sandwich had been designed to fit more comfortably in the left hand, including rotating the condiments and redistributing the weight of the toppings.

What happened next:

This one didn't go over quite as well as they'd hoped, since some of those 32 million Americans came into the restaurant and were annoyed to discover they couldn't actually order the Left-Handed Whopper.

Still, there was no real backlash when the restaurant chain admitted it had been an April Fool's stunt, and since the ad brought in customers, including many who requested that they receive a right-handed burger, it should be called a success.

Lesson learned:

No harm in being inspired by successful marketing stunts that have come before, as long as you provide your own twist. The newspaper ad on April Fool's Day had already been done, but otherwise, it was a creative gag. Certainly, Burger King was encouraged by the prank:

They've continued to have a sense of humour when it comes to their marketing, their latest gag being the website, http://www.subservientchicken.com/, which was unleashed on the internet without much fanfare - only a few friends of people who worked for Burger King's ad agency were told about it - allowing word-of-mouth to spread and customers to discover it for themselves.

For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a video of somebody in a chicken suit who will fulfil (almost) any command you type in for it. In the past several months, the site has received nearly 20 million hits, and web surfers spend an average of six minutes playing the game. Seems it never hurts to have a sense of humour.

AJR
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