Whopper Sellout: Facebook Like is Not A Sign of Loyalty

One of the most idiotic campaigns lately has been this effort from Burger King Norway:

Effectively they subsidized their biggest competitor with 50 000 krones and lost 30k of their Facebook audience at the same time. But hey, now they have more engaged Facebook community with only those who care, right? Or they have 8000 fans who have already opted out of Facebook messages and have not seen the status updates about campaign.

Why this campaign was just really idiotic stunt?

1.Fast food is not loyalty business.
Majority of the people eat both in Burger King and McDonald´s. When you are hungry your main selection criteria is location, location & location. 72% of Pepsi drinkers drink Coke as well. Also if you offer free gift coupon for your main competitor and the only downside is that you cannot join a brand Facebook page anymore. Who would not get this deal? We are not talking about your favorite basketball team here. We are talking about burgers. How often you go to social media to really engage with burger? If your brand page disappeared today, who would mourn it?

2. Fast food is a mass business.
Even your most loyal 8k fans do not really make dent in your results. Therefore I rather had 40k disloyal bargain hunters than 8k hardcore Burger King loyalists. Sometimes Facebook is just reach and not engagement. The situation would be different if your average buy would be hundreds of dollars. Buying the fast food is low-interest buy. In reality you want the people fast in-fast out and not really expect them to discuss about your brand further.

3.Fast food business is led by promotions.
People wait for the new burger variants, one-dollar discounts and 2-in-1 deals. Why not give what they are wanting for? Majority of the brands should just realize that their Facebook page is only place for promotions, sweepstakes and occasional social media meltdowns. People go to Facebook because they want to connect with their friends. They do not want to connect with brands. They might do it occasionally, if they really want to or if they are bribed properly. Most likely they are too busy uploading selfies than answering your boring brand poll.

Liking in Facebook is quite seldom an act of loyalty. Quite often your most loyal fans do not even know that you have Facebook. It is totally delusional to argue otherwise.  And do not get me wrong, I do not think that there is necessary any value to Facebook like and there has been brilliant campaigns playing around the mindless like-chase. I have to also admit that “Whopper Sacrifice” is still one of the most brilliant FB campaigns ever. They were probably trying to come up with something like that in Norway, but failed miserably.

Much more effective campaign would be to offer people to switch their whopper to Big Mac in Burger King. Then I think more people would show loyalty and you would have gotten nice case study video material. Or do a campaign where you can only like either McDonald´s or Burger King in Facebook, and reward those who select Burger King as their solely FB Burger fan page with free Whopper. With Whopper Sellout the mechanics were just wrong and therefore it failed (and nicely done case study video does not change that fact).

Only good part of the campaign has been the publicity it has garnered (like this long piece on Fast Company). Calculated through that, it might have been worthwhile to lose those 30k fans. They also seem to have gained 2000 new ones after this latest stunt, so maybe it was just really twisted PR stunt and I fell victim to it as well.

Otherwise this just looks like award case study scam gone terribly wrong.

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