Burger King Introduces Iconic Character in the U.K.

Fast-Food Chain Hopes the King and New Owners Will Reverse Sales Slump

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Burger King is introducing the iconic King character in the U.K. as part of a new campaign with the tagline, "Taste is King."

The King has landed in the U.K.
The King has landed in the U.K.
The 60-second spot, created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, broke over the weekend during a prime-time airing of "The X Factor," the hugely popular British version of "American Idol." It launched just as Burger King confirmed it had agreed to a $4 billion sale to 3G Capital Management.

The commercial is part of an integrated campaign for the brand that will see the King making a tour of major U.K. cities this month. Residents of these cities, including London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, will be encouraged to follow the King, just as a growing horde of people do in the TV ad, to receive discounts and other offers at their local Burger King restaurant.

The promotion will also run on the geo-location-based social network Foursquare, on other social media and in online ads. The ad is on Burger King's U.K. website.

The King has made fleeting appearances in British ads for Burger King in the past but this is his first starring role. Previous campaigns for the fast-food chain have been product-led, promoting new sandwiches, special offers or old favorites like the Flame-Grilled Whopper.

The introduction of The King in the U.K. comes four months after Natalia Franco was installed as chief marketing officer of Burger King globally. In the U.K., Burger King's sales fell by 2.3% in the year ending June 30, 2010, while rivals McDonald's Corp. and Subway saw sales grow during the same period.

Crispin has done ads for Burger King in Europe, mainly the U.K. and Spain, for several years.

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