‘Gross’ mouldy Whopper ad gives Burger King the edge

BKThe new Burger King ad – which depicts a Whopper going mouldy to flag up that the company no longer uses artificial preservatives – is either the work of a creative genius or one of the worst examples of self-indulgence; but one thing is sure, it’s made an impact.

The campaign, devised by Swedish agency Ingo, has now launched across Europe. It speeds through 34 days’ worth of a moulding Whopper, with the burger gradually losing its appeal to become blue and furry. Aretha Franklin’s “What A Difference A Day Makes” ends with the tagline “the beauty of no artificial preservatives”. Media is handled by Publicis.

According to an analysis carried out by video and TV ad assessment specialist Ace Metrix, the creative scored 36% below average on advertising benchmarks for the fast-food sector. More than a quarter (26%) of viewers were actively turned off to purchasing from Burger King due to the ad. Emotional reactions were similarly negative, with the mouldy Whopper strongly evoking feelings like “gross,” “inappropriate” and “ridiculous”.

But visceral responses resulted in the ad capturing attention levels 10% higher than the sector norm when viewed to completion. Burger King’s central message – that the Whopper grew mouldy because it had no artificial preservatives – was also well communicated and ranked as the “single best thing” about the ad among those surveyed.

So far, the ad has been viewed 1,687,233 on YouTube, with 4,500 likes and just 470 dislikes.

Ace Metrix said the juxtaposition of repulsive visuals with agreeable information has played out in the emotional impact on viewers, creating strong internal conflict among many. Viewers acknowledged the gross, unappetising visuals. However, most understood and appreciated the natural decaying effects and the product information it conveyed.

One said: “I’m unlikely to go to Burger King as I do not often eat fast-food burgers, but knowing that Burger King is making an effort to only use fresh ingredients in their meals does make me think positively about the company. I might be willing to try Burger King if the opportunity arose.”

Another added: “This ad is very surprising, but it makes sense. I guess everything is a trade-off, so no preservatives means you better eat it in due time. Of course, the burger is meant to be eaten right away, anyhow.”

A third commented: “The ad was honestly really gross. It did send a very important message about preservatives and it actually would influence me to choose them over others but the ad was gross.”

Finally, another concluded: “It’s very interesting since we all know McDonald’s burgers don’t age.”

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