The fast-food chain last month also began a search for its U.S. media business—along with media for RBI siblings Popeyes and Tim Hortons—all of which are now held by which Horizon Media. Burger King has worked with both David and Horizon for roughly eight years. Horizon, which was invited to join the original request for proposals, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Have it your way
Burger King, which has swept the awards circuit in recent years for campaigns like "Stevenage Challenge" and "Moldy Whopper," is rethinking its marketing approach to be less about cutting-edge creative and more sales-driven, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
When asked for comment on its review, Burger King issued a statement saying: "Moving forward, Burger King will continue to emphasize key differentiators our guests love—flame-grilled sandwiches, and ‘Have it Your Way’—through customization, personalization, and product experiences. The quality of our flame-grilled sandwiches is unmatched and unmistakably Burger King. This brand strength—along with our commitment to provide guests an experience on their terms—will be highlighted as we continue to tell our great Burger King story. In review of our creative partners, our aim is to align with the team that best shares our passion for the Burger King brand and will lead with relevancy and a deep understanding of our guest business objectives and goals."
Burger King has been trying to boost its business with value-priced deals and other offers, which appears to be showing some traction: The brand’s fourth-quarter results showed a 1.8% increase in U.S. same-store sales, exceeding analyst estimates.
“Where we have the most opportunity is in really redefining, or defining, who we are [and] having a relevant and distinct voice,” Tom Curtis, president of Burger King U.S. and Canada, said during RBI's quarterly conference call in February. “That is one of the reasons that we went out to agency review."
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Whichever agency or agencies win the account have much work to do. Burger King lost its No. 2 U.S. burger chain status to Wendy’s in 2020 and its U.S. measured media spending fell 22.9% to $286.8 million in 2020, according to Kantar data from the Ad Age Datacenter, as the pandemic disrupted the restaurant industry.
Contributing: Judann Pollack