It’s been one day since I wrote about The Whopper Freakout, when I learned about The Whopper Sacrifice. And, I have to hand it to the folks at the advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky for serving up another brilliant campaign.
Here’s the gist of it:
You cancel 10 friendships on Facebook and you get a free Whopper.
Absolutely brilliant, a critique of what “friendship” means in the context of the social network, and provocative. I’m pretty sure everyone in this scenario was a winner. Regrettably Facebook failed it by shutting down the Whopper Sacrifice Application after 233,906 friendships were canceled. Michael Arrington deserves credit for highlighting the fact that shutting Burger King down when you’re trying to find ways to monotize your service is not wise.
I believe Burger King put it best when they wrote this on the shut-down microsite:
Facebook fails it
You may have already heard about the Burger King “Whopper Freakout” campaign which has been spreading virally and driving people to their micro-site here. What I find interesting about this campaign is that it makes a point of listening to customers, which I believe is a primary charge for marketers. I would go so far as to say that marketers need to be an internal customer advocates.
Whopper Free Zone
That said, Burger King is intentionally pissing their customers off in order to get their reaction, which is what makes it funny but also meaningless from a service development perspective. I have a feeling that it’s about more than just offering “flame broiled” burgers as opposed to fried burgers (insert selling point here). What is does show effectively is that customers are emotionally connected to the brand, which is what any brand should strive for.
I do think there is something disturbing about the idea of artifically pressurizing a market so that you can listen to customer complaints, and then give them back what your purposefully took away. I question if there is a net gain of goodwill in the end, though it’s certainly amusing and seems to be driving brand awarenes.
Adopting the documentary/reality lens works well for the concept, but the video goes on too long. They could have cut this in half and had a more significant impact. I also think they’ve also missed an opportunity to get the community involved with the project and keep the micro-site alive …. letting their community upload video of their own? Or, at the very least including a location finder and coupon so they could track the effect on purchasing.