Oct. 4th, 2006

Burger King revels in tension. Flees traditional media for the Web.

TheburgerkingLast year, Burger King’s TV-ad spending fell 18%, spending on
magazines dropped 78% and newspapers declined 29%, (TNS
Media Intelligence).

An interview with the chain’s marketing chief, Russ Klein, in today’s Journal reveals why:

"…since 2003 we made a
decided push into emerging media and we decided to get into a whole
host of things from micro sites, mobile phones, video downloads, text
messaging and gaming… We weren’t going to wait around for the
traditional measurement systems to catch up with it. The eyeballs have
already moved.

[Commenting on a recent ad that pictured a faux striptease and worries that the King only appeals to young men, Klein reveals the BK has very strong sense of its customers] …our core customer is a customer who generally appreciates
the edge, if you will, that we deliver our advertising with.

think that the DNA of the Burger King brand tends to be a bit more
adolescent and stormy than that of our competitors. McDonald’s tends to
be a regression to childhood while Wendy’s is more paternal and

My personal philosophy is effective advertising stems
from tension, and when it’s provocative it’s more ingrained in the
culture…I think viewers today appreciate clever and provocative

Mr Klein has succeeded in reinvigorating an old brand without talking benefits or following any of the fast food industry’s marketing playbook. The new work flowed from a tighter, differentiated vision of the BK customer. Read the rest of the interview here (subscription required).

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