The image says it all. I bring this up not because of outrage, but because it demonstrates the desperation many brands feel that leads to wrongheaded attempts to gain awareness. (As though no one is aware of Burger King.)

There are two points to be made here. Obviously, Burger King had no idea what to say when they unveiled this a year ago – and that’s one reason why it’s losing market share. (McDonald’s currently has about three times the market share owned by Burger King in the quick-service sector.)

Even more so, did they ever consider who is the target audience? Who are they speaking to? Men? Do men want to eat this sandwich, considering the context? Women?

I’ve come across this before. We once worked for a company in B2B that wanted to go a route similar to this. Awareness was a concern for them, but they didn’t understand that (at that time) that awareness is created by creating preference. Awareness alone means nothing.

We’re all aware of a lot of brands, but we filter them out if we don’t prefer them. Going for the shock value in the misguided attempt to increase awareness is money wasted. Awareness is achieved by being meaningful in the process of creating preference.

It’s this kind of desperation at reaching for awareness – either without meaning or meaning that hasn’t been thought through strategically – that makes brands irrelevant.