All the King's horses and all the King's men seem to have put the Whopper back together again.
For the first time in more than a decade, Burger King Corp. and its franchisees appear to agree on a marketing platform: Sell burgers, fries and soft drinks. Forget pizza, tacos and meat loaf.
Burger King's new "Get your burger's worth" ad campaign introduces the spartan strategy, one double-drive-through chains have been using for years, and one that will require self-restraint on the part of Burger King franchisees.
CEO Jim Adamson said Burger King Corp. and its franchisees won't introduce new products under the "Get your burger's worth" campaign, which break today in local markets and will begin running nationally in mid-September.
New menu items will be limited to variations on existing burgers, chicken and fish sandwiches.
The chain has taken 30 items off the menu in the past year. One of the five new spots, from Ammirati & Puris/Lintas, New York, demonstrates how the chain has listened to customer preferences by depicting a BK sign with ears.
Steve Lewis, chairman of the franchisee marketing advisory committee and owner of 26 units in metro Philadelphia, said franchisees have experimented with new products and marketing tactics in the past when they felt the corporate office had no solid strategy.
"Now we're a part of the process, and that is why the system is more united today than it has been for 15 years," Mr. Lewis said.
Burger King operators in several markets echoed Mr. Lewis' enthusiasm. A Midwestern franchisee called the campaign the "best work since `Have it your way."' A Florida operator said he expects the ads to considerably boost customer traffic.
But the campaign has a tough act to follow-this summer's blockbuster "Lion King" promotion. To keep sales hopping, by yearend Burger King will have spent $250 million, 60% for national ads and 40% for local buys.
The new ads go up against McDonald Corp.'s NFL blitz and its standardized $2.99 value meal prices. Burger King has boosted the size of its burgers; what remains to be seen is whether McDonald's will follow suit.
"Whatever the competition does, that's up to them," Mr. Adamson said. "We're staying our course."