So, advertisers are advised to sell the sizzle, not the steak. This is the advertising equivalent of, if the client gives you lemons, sell the lemonade. There have been some really weird and, at times, downright stupid ad campaigns based on selling an attitude instead of product. Anyone else remember those stupid Miller Lite campaigns by "Dick"? They had nothing to do with the beer, just with making some urban legend out of a guy who didn't exist.
(Side note: I was riding with my buddy Jimmy through Chicago during the last Bulls title runs. Jimmy knew how much I hated the Dick commercials. He then pointed to a billboard and said, "Hey, Pete! It's your buddy!" The billboard said, "Dick was born a Bulls fan, because his mother was at United Center when it happened." I said, You know, that sign explains a lot. "How so?" United Center was only built three years ago. "...so, according to that sign, the guy creating all these Miller Light ads is less than three years old." Yup. "You're right. That DOES explain a lot.")
Burger King has seen their market share drop behind places like Wendy's for years, and the only time they were competitive with McDonalds was when they had Disney tie ins just before McDonald's got the deal.
Burger King hired advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky. They specialized in the teen and 20+ demographics. They focused on being edgy, forgetting that fast food just isn't edgy. People don't hang out in fast food joints like they do diners. It's a pit stop, not a destination. They created the creepy King, a masked individual that looked like a science experiment involving a Mardi Gras costume and a school mascot that went horribly horribly wrong. They made those unbelievably bad XBox games. The Subservient Chicken. All things creating an expectation that Burger King is hip and edgy. All the while, it not only didn't bring people in, but anyone outside the target audience was looking in confusion.
BK recently got new owners and new management. This week, reports came in that Burger King saw a 6% decline in same store sales in the first quarter of this year. And they can't say it's the recession -- McDonald's saw theirs go up 3% in the same period. BK has had enough. They've sacked Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Their logic is, McDonalds ads are selling the food, not an attitude, and it's working. So BK is turning to ad firm McGarry Bowen. The company is heavily criticized for not being very imaginative. For being staid. Predictable. Boring. That's exactly what BK wants. Once again, it's working for everyone else. And Alex Maccedo, SVP, marketing, told USA Today: "There are no plans to bring the King back anytime soon."
So we are finally free of the nightmare inducing King. May I recommend putting an Elder Seal on the closet the costume is kept in?