Burger King mascot

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

4 January 2015

The horror of the Burger King mascot

Oh no. Please don’t tell me that the Burger King, as in the actual masked and unnerving Burger King mascot, is back.

Yes, just days after I said that KFC bringing Colonel Sanders back was a creepy mistake, here comes Burger King making a similar error.

In a new spot trumpeting its chicken nuggets (10 of them for just $1.49!), the King rises out of the ashes like the Ghost of Christmas Past to (eat?) a nugget.

I thought Burger King had moved on from the King? It was less than four years ago when Burger King dropped the King mascot. It came in the wake of Burger King dropping its agency (Crispin Porter + Bogusky) and claiming it was going to promote the freshness of its food in order to attract moms.

Guess that didn’t work out. Burger King has been falling within in the fast food category (being replaced by Wendy’s in second place behind McDonald’s) and the whole industry has seen sales decline.

“Think about this for a moment. The King mascot didn’t work the first time…so let’s try it again. The definition of insanity, they say, is trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”

The insanity of using the Burger King mascot

So what did Burger King do? It did the lazy thing that KFC did. It went back to the well in a surfeit of ideas, hoping against hope that the King (along with a low price) would attract customers.

Think about this for a moment. The King mascot didn’t work the first time…so let’s try it again. The definition of insanity, they say, is trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Burger King is in a tough pickle, pun intended. Its name limits what it can do no matter how often it changes its menu or advertising campaign. (And no one in the industry changes strategies and tactics as often as Burger King.) The name says burgers and the association with that can be a negative. 

Therefore, Burger King has taken the other word in its name, praying that the King will become an equity marker that stops the bleeding of declining market share.

There is a different approach, but that includes the hard work of actually branding yourself as something that is truly persuasive. In fact, all the sacred cows at Burger King should be slaughtered. It may seem extreme, but a complete overall is needed here – and I’d start with the name.

The name of Burger King is holding it back. That means its leadership must realize that Burger King is no longer a viable name for a whole host of reasons. It’s time for Burger King to be something else.

And not return to what didn’t work before.

See more posts in the following related categories: Burger King mascot fast food market share fast food sales

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