Last week Burger King ambushed McDonald’s with full-page ads in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, suggesting the two chains combine forces with a one-time mash-up burger (the McWhopper), ostensibly to further the cause of World Peace. McDonald’s CEO adroitly demurred via Facebook, suggesting there may be better ways to save the world. This was covered by The Armchair MBA recently.
BK’s goal seemed to be to bootstrap its profile inexpensively by forcing McDonald’s to publicly engage with a smaller competitor.
Now Burger King is dealing with smaller competitors trying to do the same thing to it. Both Denny’s and Wayback Burgers (a 100-unit CT-based chain that features the ‘3 x 3’ — a 9-patty burger) have reached out to Burger King, suggesting they would be happy to take McDonald’s place.
Denny’s took out its own tongue-in-cheek full-page ad in the New York Times, saying in part: “Hey @BurgerKing, We love the idea of a peace burger. We’re just not sure what to call this thing. Any ideas? @DennysDiner”
We have never heard of Wayback, and never considered Denny’s for burgers, so this seems like a great opportunistic play on their parts, driving awareness via media momentum initiated by someone else.
As for Burger King, while it hoped to trick the prom queen into a date, it is instead being asked to take its little sister to the movies.
The sad thing is in this game of one-upmanship, the worthy cause that was ostensibly the impetus is lost, making it all look very disingenuous. Mickey D’s is blameless, I believe, as they were the target of this nonsense. But until BK, Denny’s and Wayback go ahead and make some substantial contribution to Peace One Day to show they weren’t just using it as a marketing ploy, I’ll have no respect for any of them. Not sure that’s what BK wanted to gain out of this dumb idea, but there you have it. More unintended consequences.