The Quarantine Whopper
The coronavirus has turned all of our lives upside down and we all are navigating a new reality that is in constant flux. It’s an incredibly difficult moment to advertise in because what is relevant in one moment has changed in the next.
However, a recent ad by Burger King shows that it can be done, despite the limited possibilities around filming and photographing due to social distancing.
Let’s take a look at their most recent ad: The Quarantine Burger
Burger King’s new campaign teaches us all how to make our own Whopper, or “Quarantine Burger”, at home. It’s a subversive idea and has been devised and debuted at top speed during the current global crisis. Plus, it sticks to all the rules I laid out in my last article about how to position a brand during COVID-19.
So, how has Burger King managed to create such a great piece of advertising during a global pandemic?
Burger King Knows What Its Community Needs, And Delivers
Burger King has identified what their community needs. Social Distancing in place means the closing of restaurants and stores, including Burger King’s.
But Burger King also realizes that its customers still need to eat. And stressed, busy people, might actually crave convenience food, which is no longer readily available.
By visualizing a few of their signature burgers, the delivered a simple message and simple recipes their community needs right now.
Burger King connects to their values and purpose for this ad
Fast food is about getting people fed, quickly and practically. That’s especially important for families who are preparing every meal at home right now when usually the average adult gets around 30% of their calories from outside of the house (restaurants, work canteens, etc). Showing us how to make a Quarantine Burger fulfills the ‘quick, practical, fed’ purpose of a burger joint.
It also connects with Burger King’s values, which include, fun, novelty, and quality. It’s not the first surprising ad to come from the brand, and it won’t be the last. Plus, the visual style is itself quick and easy to swallow. Both on brand and super valuable during a stressful time. It looks like a burger king ad, and that in itself creates the comfort we all associate with our favorite fast food brands.
Burger King took action that passes the RID test
(Read more about the RID-test in my last Forbes article on How To Adjust Your Brand Strategy In The Times Of Coronavirus)
To pass this test, action must be relevant, impactful and doable. Let’s look at how the Quarantine Burger campaign holds up.
Relevant: Well, it’s a burger on an ad for Burger King. It’s relevant. And the practicality, ease, and community focus elements of the ad’s message fit both with Burger King’s values and with the new restrictions and requirements of this crisis.
Impactful: The imagery is really easy to understand, works in any size and is surprising enough to ensure it will be looked at. It has an impact. And it is memorable. It provides value.
Doable: There are currently a lot of constraints for the creative industries with only very limited shooting or filming taking place (if at all). Burger King managed to use easy to source visuals, and still come up with a memorable, relevant message that fits with their brand story
Maybe most interestingly, Burger King knows what their story is
Burger King knows who they are – and what their story is – well enough that they can respond and refocus and yet, crucially, remain on-brand in this time of crisis.
They are the chain that is courageous enough to make bold moves, a fast-food household name that is nonetheless a bit edgy. In this time of crisis, they are showing us all how to make a great burger when you need one, and they trust you to come right back and get one made for you when this tough time is over.
This is their corona crisis story, but it fits within their larger brand story too. They are a reliable, comforting, trustworthy yet innovative burger company. And they’re fun to boot.
We can learn a lot more than a burger recipe from this example of advertising under pressure. Plenty of brands are trying their best to adapt to the breakneck speed of change right now, and only a few are really succeeding.
The key is to think about your community and at the same time to keep in mind who you are as a brand. Most of all, the stories you are telling right now need to be relevant. As our lives have changed, so has our perspective. My advice is to ask: What can you do during this crisis that uses the best of your brand, and helps your community too? How can you provide value to your community and connect a new campaign to your brand purpose?
I am looking forward to connecting with you and hope to learn more about your experience and brand examples as we are going through this crisis.