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What a whopper: the underlying genius of Burger King’s bus stunt

Posted by Elaine Birch on 17th December 2019

Amidst the political turmoil that surrounded the UK in the run up to the recent Christmas election, there had been a swelling of public cynicism around all politicians, regardless of anybody’s personal voting tendencies.

Without wanting to write a blog about politics, it’s worth noting that in terms of marketing and advertising, this election campaign has yet again asserted the power of the slogan and the bold statement. And we’re not talking strong and stable…

Burger King has arguably led the pack, with its ‘Another whopper on the side of a bus’ ad simultaneously acting as a simple and direct nod to its own product, while also casting serious shade on the questionable tactics undertaken by political parties during the Brexit campaigns of 2016.

What this did was not only make sure that Burger King placed itself at the centre of an almighty ‘in joke’, but it also tapped into the current sentiment around truth, fake news and how much we can trust the things we read.

As the marketing world continues to be enhanced and moved on by fast-moving and often mind-bending technology, it’s worth a reminder that the written word and a straightforward message can often be hugely powerful. The London bus is an iconic symbol itself, so marrying this with the humorous undertones of the message without fanfare at the opportune moment was undoubtedly a stroke of genius.

However, technology and modernity is never far away and, thanks to the speed and ferocity of social media, the advert soon became a viral phenomenon and a mainstay of the national press. The advert itself may not have been full of key messages or indeed any useful information, but it was a classic example of seizing both the moment and the public sentiment and turning them to a brand’s advantage.

The interesting thing about advertising, PR and marketing is that at their heart, whatever happens in terms of advances in technology or changes in consumer behaviour, the objective is always the same. Keep people interested, keep people talking.

Sometimes, PR and advertising is about education, sometimes it’s about changing opinion, sometimes it’s about raising awareness of a product of an issue. Yet whatever these variables may be, it is always about keeping your brand and your message engaging and memorable. And with this in mind, it’s fair to say that Burger King has pulled off a whopper.

Elaine Birch

Passionate about building and nurturing client relationships, Elaine loves the challenge of getting to the heart of what her clients want to achieve and designing smart and strategic PR programmes to suit. A keen and talented writer, Elaine loves to delve deep into a technical subject and wordsmith it into engaging, cut through content. Her love of words extends to outside of work as well, where she enjoys writing poetry, journaling and reading. She also is the office lipstick aficionado, with a shade for every mood!