THE NUMBERS: While the chain posted some of the industry's best numbers in late 2008, on the heels of "Whopper Freakout," it has fallen off since. Burger King was posting 5% same-store sales gains at the time, but the chain was down nearly 5% during the most recent quarter. The chain is losing burger-category market share, according to Technomic, down to 14.2% from 15.6% in 2003, when the business and brand were in worse shape. In 2008, Burger King spent $326 million on measured media. First-half 2009 spending fell off 5% to $146 million.
THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Russ Klein, BK's chief marketing officer, has been a dynamic force within the company since assuming the role six years ago. He has however, been a polarizing force among the franchisee community. He stepped down to take a personal leave of absence in September. Mike Kappitt, senior VP-business intelligence, is leading day-to-day marketing in his absence.
THE CHALLENGE: The chain's sales have fallen behind the fast-food industry, which as a whole, is flat or slightly down. Burger King executives have said that the chain needs a stronger value platform, better-looking restaurants, and more premium options to compete with casual dining. Some franchisees say the chain needs messaging that doesn't alienate women, senior citizens and minorities.
THE AGENCIES: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which has been the chain's creative agency of record for five years, has become synonymous with Burger King's advertising. Campbell Mithun handles smaller projects, including the kids'-meal business.