Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

So I’m reading La Vida Locavore, and Jill Richardson has a post up about Burger King’s new marketing campaign:

Now, if you ditch 10 [Facebook] friends, they’ll give you a free burger. Then they send your ex-friends a message saying you like Whoppers better than you like them. Gross.

It sounded so weird that I followed her link to this article from Adweek. Sure enough, it’s a real story and not satire from The Onion:

The fast-food chain has released the Whopper Sacrifice application on Facebook. The app rewards people with a coupon for BK’s signature burger when they cull 10 friends. Each time a friend is excommunicated, the application sends a notification to the banished party via Facebook’s news feed explaining that the user’s love for the unlucky soul is less than his or her zeal for the Whopper. […]

“We thought there could be some fun there, removing some of these people who are friends [but] not necessarily] best friends,” said Jeff Benjamin, executive interactive creative director at Crispin, and friend to 736 on Facebook. “It’s asking the question of which love is bigger, your love for your friends or your love for the Whopper,” he said.

The app also adds a box to user profile pages charting their progress toward the free burger with the line, “Who will be the next to go?”

The application is available on Facebook and at WhopperSacrifice.com.

This concept strikes me as bizarre. I don’t know whether that’s because I am not a Facebook person, because I’m older than the demographic they are targeting, or because I haven’t eaten at Burger King in who knows how many years.

Are excess friends that big a problem on Facebook? Is a Whopper that desirable? It seems so unappetizing.

Jill reminds us that Burger King has had other unusual marketing campaigns lately, namely a meat-scented Burger King fragrance, ads featuring “Whopper Virgins” from cultures where fast food is unknown, and a series of YouTube videos

of people eating the “Octo Stacker” – a burger made with 2 buns, 8 patties, 9 pieces of cheese and 16 pieces of bacon.

Seriously, who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

UPDATE: Thanks to ragbrai08 for pointing me to this Washington Post article. After “233,906 friends were removed by 82,771 people in less than a week,” Facebook shut down this application because it supposedly “facilitated activity that ran counter to user privacy […].”

For the record, Crispin Porter + Bogusky were the ad wizards who came up with this one. Clearly they were tapping into real potential to generate buzz for Burger King. Go figure.

  • I don't get it either...

    This concept strikes me as bizarre. I don’t know whether that’s because I am not a Facebook person, because I’m older than the demographic they are targeting, or because I haven’t eaten at Burger King in who knows how many years.

    I guess I’m probably a bit closer to their targeted age demographic (29), but probably still older than who they’re targeting.

    I’m also not a Facebook person or a Burger King patron, though…so I don’t know.

    Just another attempt to be outrageous, or ‘shocking’?  Maybe a bit of the radio ‘shock jock’ mentality going on there?

    I’d say it speaks pretty well to the tendency of advertisers in our culture to aim for the lowest common denominator.

    Dude, free burgers!

    Bah.

  • just seems weird

    I’m in college and a pretty regular facebook user and yeah, you do end up with “friends” that were in one class with you freshman year who you never really see again and never even talked to that much to begin with.  So I can see where they got the idea. But the whole thing still strikes me as bizarre. I wouldn’t tell a complete stranger that they mean less than a whopper, let alone someone who I’ve actually interacted with enough to be friends with on facebook. It just seems incredibly rude and not really funny, which I guess is what they’re going for. I guess some people just lose their bearings when it comes to interacting or advertising on the intertubes.  

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