Despite Rising Costs, Burger King Adds to Value Menu

Will Advertise New Items With 'Reverse Pickpocketer' Campaign

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the latest evidence that value menus are shifting across the fast-food category, Burger King is adding smaller, lower-cost items -- priced at $1.39.
Burger King's new ads depict the King as a 'reverse pickpocketer' who puts money back into consumers' wallets.
Burger King's new ads depict the King as a 'reverse pickpocketer' who puts money back into consumers' wallets.

The new Burger King items -- the "Cheesy Bacon BK Wrapper" and the "Spicy Chicken BK Wrapper" -- are similar to those already on the menu at McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC and Taco Bell. The move comes as franchisees in the fast-food industry struggle to balance rising commodity costs with value menus, which often have items priced at or under $1.

Putting money back into wallets
Burger King will bolster the new products with TV spots that depict its King as a "reverse pickpocketer" who puts money back into consumers' wallets. Crispin Porter & Bogusky is the chain's agency.

"Unlike our competitors, Burger King Corp. is helping cash-strapped customers by adding to our BK Value Menu, not cutting back," said Russ Klein, Burger King's president-global strategy, marketing and innovation. "The new campaign showcases the additions to the BK Value Menu and emphasizes value with Burger King Corp.'s signature irreverent humor."

Smaller, lower-cost items on value menus are one of the results of a long year spent haggling over the double cheeseburger.

The double cheeseburger struggle
McDonald's has credited the double cheeseburger that anchors its dollar menu with much of the company's turnaround. In recent months, however, the company acknowledged it is running tests of the sandwich at higher prices, among other cost-cutting measures. Franchisees at the chain have additionally expressed an unwillingness to put ad dollars behind a loss leader, and favored higher-margin items in some regional advertising efforts.

Burger King has also battled franchisees over the double cheeseburger on its value menu. A test of the product for $1 was pulled.
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