The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity just named Burger King its Creative Marketer of the Year. For decades the brand has consistently delivered ideas that have carved out new pathways for the industry on a spectrum of platforms, including PR, activations, digital, branded content and even product. Here's a look at some of the best.
Crispin Porter & Bogusky was behind much of the brand's legendary creative ideas. One of those was 2007's "King Games," a series of three Xbox titles that brought the brand's cast of characters into the much larger storytelling canvas of the gaming world -- leading to then-unprecedented levels of consumer-brand interaction. "Sneak King," "PocketBike Racer" and "Big Bumpin" each retailed for $3.99 at BK restaurants. In early 2007, sales estimates for the titles were around 3.2 million units (that's more than one for each of the Xbox 360 consoles that were in homes at the time).
At Cannes, Cutwater founder Chuck McBride noted, "They took an advertising icon and turned him into a real character, and turned the character into a game, and the game into a real business model." He also praised the agency for doing something shops haven't quite figured out to this day. "We still don't get paid properly for our ideas at agencies," he said. "But Crispin took their intellectual property and figured out how to capitalize it. That makes me jealous and jealousy leads to awards."
CP&B's Titanium and Gold-Awarded campaign rode the wave of social media "friending" habits -- and then diverted them -- by asking Facebook users to break up with 10 of their buddies to get a free Whopper. The campaign was cut short, however, after 234,000 friendships were sacrificed. Facebook had wanted BK to tweak the idea so it wouldn't conflict with users' "privacy expectations," but rather than making changes to the application, BK and the agency decided to sacrifice the campaign, rather than dilute the idea.
CP&B's Gold-winning idea punked loyal Whopper eaters by pulling Burger King's signature burger off its menu. On that day, lives were shattered, stomachs went grumbling and pranking went on to become a go-to tactic for many a marketer.