'Whopper Virgins' Rivals Online Success of 'Freakout'

But Sales Impact of Burger King's Latest Viral Video From Crispin Is Not Yet Known

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Burger King's recent "Whopper Virgins" campaign is on track to replicate the online success of the fast feeder's earlier viral success "Whopper Freakout," but its impact on sales remains to be seen.

'Whopper Virgins'
'Whopper Virgins'
The documentary-style video, courtesy of ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, appears to be breaking through the clutter. According to ComScore, Whoppervirgins.com had 242,000 unique visitors in December. By comparison, Whopperfreakout.com had 250,000 visitors during its first month, December 2007.

Burger King won't report fiscal-second-quarter earnings until Feb. 5, when sales will be reported for the period.

"Anytime a promotional microsite can get a few hundred thousand visitors, it's pretty successful," ComScore spokesman Andrew Lipsman said. "Every now and then you'll have a MyCokeRewards with a few million, but that's not typical." MyCokeRewards is a loyalty program for Coca-Cola, where consumers trade in "purchase points" for music, videos or even hotel stays.

More views?
The fast feeder's internal numbers are much higher. According to Burger King, the site has had 727,075 total visitors and 698,149 unique visitors. They spend an average of nearly four minutes on the site. Consumers are also accessing the site via mobile devices, with 26,434 views so far. The documentary has 1.3 million views, whereas "Whopper Freakout" had roughly 1.5 million views by this time.

Another key measure of viral success: Online parodies abound. One CrazyTalkTV takeoff interviews "Burger King Salad Virgins," inhabitants of major cities who have never seen or tasted a Burger King salad. That video has more than 26,000 views on YouTube. The campaign also earned a "Saturday Night Live" ribbing last weekend, in which one test subject asked to take the sandwiches home to feed his village, and a woman said she could take part in the study because she was not a virgin.

Although the campaign has certainly raised eyebrows, Burger King pulled back on "Whopper Virgins" after the holidays, moving on to the limited-time "Angry Whopper" (jalapenos, pepper-jack cheese and "angry onions") with accompanying broadcast spots. But the fast feeder is commited to keeping WhopperVirgins.com live at least through December 2009.

The chain also has been getting media pickup this month thanks to "Whopper Sacrifice." The promotion offers social networkers a free Whopper if they ditch 10 of their Facebook friends. Nearly 200,000 friends have been sacrificed to date. On the bright side, for everyone except the system's franchisees, that means nearly 20,000 free sandwiches will be given out.

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