With kids-meal toys, in-store and online games, and a limited-time Indy Whopper (double patties, bacon, Cajun mayo and pepper jack cheese), Cindy Syracuse, senior director-marketing impact at Burger King, said this is one of the chain's biggest movie promotions ever.
This one's a Whopper
"We strive to expand our promotion each time based on what's relevant to consumers and what we know they want," she said. The burger chain has not, for instance, named a Whopper after a movie before.
Supporting these efforts are TV spots from agencies Crispin Porter & Bogusky (for adult content) and Campbell Mithun (for the children's push).
Each summer the chain offers an in-store scratch-and-win game. Ms. Syracuse said Burger King this year decided to give the game an Indiana Jones theme. The resulting "Reveal the Secret" game prizes include a $1 million grand prize, a 2008 Hummer and a trip for four to Peru.
Burger King also added an online component to the game this year, dubbed "Big Dig." "As a main driver, consumers don't love online games," Ms. Syracuse said. "They aren't as powerful. But as secondary tactic, it has worked out very well for us." Giving away $10,000 a day helps get Whopper fans to their keyboards. The site has had 1.1 million visits in its first 10 days. On days when there's no winner, the allotted $10,000 rolls over to the next day's pot. Winners' names are posted on the site, which Ms. Syracuse said gives gamers added incentive.
Burger King already has some serious credentials on the gaming front. The chain's online promotions include the "Subservient Chicken" as well as the recent "Whopper Freakout." Last year, Burger King partnered with Crispin Porter to create a King-themed Xbox video game, which has sold more than 3 million copies.
Return on the marketing investment will be measured in terms of traffic and same-store sales surrounding the promotion. It shouldn't hurt that Burger King's sales are already strong. The chain posted industry-leading same-store sales, up 5.4% in the most recent quarter, compared with a 2.9% increase at McDonald's in the U.S. and a 1.6% decline at company-run Wendy's locations.
Tie-ins with two of the summer's hottest properties are expected to be a boon when the chain next reports sales. Ms. Syracuse said Burger King did notice an increase in traffic as well as a bump in kids-meal sales during its promotion with "Iron Man."
"'Iron Man' did very well for us," she said. "We were really thrilled. It's a great partnership with Paramount. We did 'Transformers' with them and are looking to do a couple deals coming up."
"Iron Man," which topped $100 million in domestic opening-weekend sales, and $201 million worldwide, included a prominent Whopper placement. Burger King's promotion included toys and a website.