Two determined men by the names of James McLamore and David Edgerton had the same vision, to offer citizens great tasting, inexpensive food that would be served in a clean and welcoming environment. These entrepreneurs had already gained experience in the restaurant business in the past.
In 1954 the first Burger King was open to the public in Miami, Florida (www.burgerking.ca/en/1122/index.php). By developing the first Burger King, James McLamore and David Edgerton had given the community a comfortable environment to eat inside of the restaurant, because the restaurant was the first fast food business to offer people the option of dining in the restaurant or going to the drive thru(www.burgerking.ca).
With McDonalds being the largest fast food chain in the world, Burger King rates as the second largest hamburger fast food restaurant in the world, with Wendy’s following right behind it (Armstrong/Kotler, 450). Burger King came to be the second largest hamburger fast food chain in the world with a total amount of sales at $7.9 billion in the year of 2003, falling behind McDonalds with their sales being $22.1 billion (Armstrong/Kotler, 450). Burger King’s most popular product, the Original Whopper Sandwich was introduced to the world in 1957.
The Whopper became a huge success and is still a world known sandwich that has a perfect fire-grilled taste (www.burgerking.ca/en/1121/index.php). This tasty hamburger was created to satisfy their customer so that any one as customer can have their food their own way which relates to their slogan “Have it your way”, created in 1974. They state that their vision is to “proudly serve the best burgers in the business, plus a variety of real authentic foods….all freshly prepared…. just the way you want it” (www.burgerking.ca/en/1121/index.php).
One of their goals is that they try hard to continuously increase their image and product line. Having integrity, diversity, fairness, team work, and commitment to excellence are only some of this fast food restaurants values. With Burger King’s unique values and slogan they have created a position for themselves that separates them from other fast food restaurants. One way that Burger King has positioned their selves away from the competitors is by getting away from the traditional menu and to offer regional menu items, which offers local dishes exclusive to certain cities. The Breakfast Burrito which is served in the south-west and Mustard Whopper in Texas are only some of Burger King’s regional items that customers can purchase (www.burgerking.ca/en/1121/index.php).
Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CB + P) which is Burger King’s advertising agencey, created a popular website for the company to help promote sales. This web site is www.subservientchicken.com, shows a man in a chicken costume with a lady’s garter belt around its leg. The slogan for the website was to “Get chicken just the way you like it. Type in your command here”. The user would be able to type in a phrase or words and the chicken would respond to the customer’s demand. When this website was first created, only 20 people (employees and their families) were aware of its existence. Amazingly within the first 10 days of the website’s creation there were 20 million people that had visited the site. The 20 million web users had spent an average of seven minutes on www.subservientchicken.com exploring and seeing how they can have chicken their way (Armstrong/Kotler, 451).
There are sixty-five countries and U.S. territories that Burger King has establishments. Puerto Rico in 1963 was the first international state to have the restaurant (www.burgerking.ca/en/112/index.php). Starting in 1998 Canada had an increasing growth, where they have opened over 120 restaurants within 7 years. The country of Canada is a large significant role to Burger King being as successful as it has been. This popular restaurant is located in all fifty United States and continues to be successful now today.
Main Issues and Problems
Burger King’s target market is broad. They have a differentiated marketing strategy, their main product the Whopper in the BCG matrix would be put as the cash cow range. They use three different kinds of marketing segments such as the geographic, demographic, and the psychographic. Burger King has many locations around the world.
Boston Consulting Group Growth Share Matrix
Market Growth Rate
Relative Market Share
Burger King’s market targets low income families. Basically their marketing strategies are directed towards the low and middle class people. Burger King has all types of meals for children; they even have crown shaped chicken nuggets to keep a smile on the children’s faces. They also target families that are busy and on the go. So, they have the option of dining in or the drive thru. Burger King just like other fast food restaurants are keeping up with society’s fast pace.
Burger King is most famous for their broiled burgers because most fast food franchises fry their burgers. But they have a wide selection of foods to choose from. Burger Kings sells everything from burgers to salads. They have the crown shaped chicken nuggets to go with their theme of being Burger King. On their website they have their nutrition facts so that you can watch your diet. Burger King tries to keep a variety of different products on their menu. They have vegetarian burgers, salads, and other products to go with their tag line that you can “Have it your way”.
Burger King is an international company, they have restaurants located everywhere around the globe. Burger King has restaurants locations from the United States to China. Hungry Jack’s is a franchise of Burger King that operates and franchises over 300 restaurants in Australia.
Burger King’s prices are inexpensive. That is why they are targeting low and middle class families. They target families or individuals that do not want to spend a lot of money on food. Burger King has what they called the BK Value Menu were they have selections that you can buy for under a dollar. Burger King is a perfect place to go if you are looking for somewhere to eat that is fast and will not break your pockets.
Burger King promotes itself by using all types of strategies such as commercials, websites, and web ads. They hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CB+P) to do their marketing because Burger King’s CEO Brand Blum wanted to spice things up a bit because he saw that sales were dropping. Burger King’s previous marketer was hired less than one year beforehand. When they hired CB+P they brought back their old tagline which was “Have it your way” (Armstrong/Kotler, 450). CB+P is currently using the buzz marketing affect to grab the attention of their customers. One example of the ways that CB+P is using the buzz affect is the way their promoted Burger King’s TenderCrispChicken. CP+B made a website www.subservientchicken.com. When customers open the web page, there is a man dressed in a chicken suit and underneath the video.
There is an input box where you type what you want the man dressed as a chicken to do. Underneath the input box there are icons they can push; but do not have anything directly with Burger King because CP+B thought that they did not want to give the commercial an “un-cool” effect (Armstrong/Kotler, 451). They are trying to hit everyone with a bang to get them to talk about their advertising which leads to more customers. Burger King’s theme promotes making the whole family happy. Their website is very animated, and seems to be directed towards families. They seem to want to be able to make it a family orientated place. Everyone and the family is going to leave happy because they are going to have it their way, no matter how unusual that may be (Armstrong/Kotler, 450).
Analysis and Recommendations
Burger King seems to be doing a lot of things right. Their slogan is very well known, “Have it Your Way.” Although they are doing all of these things correctly they are not the market leader in the fast food industry, that title belongs to McDonalds. Burger King will have to change its ways in order to become the market leader. Due to the fact that Burger King is an international business, recommendations have been limited to the United States.
The current target market of Burger King is pretty broad. Even so, not everybody is being targeted by their current strategy. They should keep the current strategy of a slightly segmented target market, and need to include more segments in their strategy. Mainly, the elderly are not being targeted at all. If Burger King provided some products for the elderly they would be able to target the elderly more effectively. Pizza places are known to have delivery, but not fast food. If Burger King were to provide a delivery service for large orders they would be introducing a whole new way of doing fast food and be able to target many more people. Get the door, it’s The King.
Burger King has a very diverse menu. The center of which is burgers of course. Recently they have expanded their menu to include salads and more breakfast foods. Currently the menu is not very diet-friendly. Plain burgers (no bun or toppings) and salads are the only options for dieters. One thing that they could do to improve this even more is improve the nutritional value of the foods that they already serve and introduce new healthy options to their menu. Having more low-carb and low-fat options would also expand their target market.
The biggest recommendation which can be provided is put a Burger King in Slippery Rock. It needs to be within walking distance of the campus. If it is placed correctly it could become the dominant fast food outlet in the area. This would put it in direct competition with McDonalds, Sheetz, and Subway. Competition is what Burger King’s competitors need and who else is going to give it to them better than itself. This concept could be expanded to the whole country. Provide more locations for the customers. Food is very low on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs therefore it is a very basic need. This means that people will not go very far out of their way to satisfy the need of hunger. If there is a competitor in a much more convenient location then the potential customers are lost.
The price of food at Burger King is very competitive. All fast food outlets seem to have a value menu of some sort. When one place adjusts their prices the others follow along very shortly. If Burger King were to lower its prices to gain more customers the gain would only be temporary. The competitors would soon lower their prices and regain the customers it lost. Being that the fast food industry is a very low risk industry the prices are determined more by the customers than by the company. There is not much that Burger King can do about this. They can just keep going with their current prices and maybe wait for a big change in the industry.
Ever since Burger King switched advertising agencies to Crispin Porter + Bogusky the advertisements for the company have been incredibly beneficial. They have taken many approaches to advertising, traditional TV ads, and internet ads. They even created a successful viral marketing campaign. One approach which they have not taken is product placement. This approach could be very beneficial if done correctly. If this approach is deemed too risky then a nationwide discount program could be enacted. Something similar to McDonalds’ Monopoly game would be ideal. Their new ‘mascot’ of sorts, The King, is also becoming more widely known and can be used in place of a brand name.
1. Who is BK’s target audience and what are its communication objectives for that audience?
Burger King’s audience is geared toward the younger crowd and low income familes. Burger King is trying to reach the younger crowd through the Internet websites such as www.subservientchicken.com and through comedy. An example of this would be the “King” running across the football field in the middle of a game. Also Burger King is geared toward low income families that are busy working and are on the go all the time. They’re communication to the audience is to get their food their way. People like places where they can get food anyway they want for a low cost and less hassle.
2. Why is viral or buzz marketing effective? Analyze the design of the subservient chicken site’s message, including content, structure, and format. What can you conclude from this analysis?
Buzz Marketing is cultivating opinion leaders and getting them to spread information about a product or service to others in their community (Armstrong/Kotler, G-1). The viral or buzz marketing strategy is effective because everyone that works within the strategy is very passionate about his or her work. Creating exceptional products, having exceptional service, engaging the public and creating a culture of advocacy can only achieve a good strategy. After viewing the website www.subservientchicken.com I have come to the conclusion that they are going to the comedy factor saying that you could get your chicken any way you like it. This is funny because on the website they have a chicken in a garter. Then there is also a space where you can type in “Get your chicken the way you like it, submit here”.
3. Do the TV and viral elements of the Burger King Campaign work well together? What additional elements and media might CPB add to the integrated marketing communications campaign?
We think that the virtual (internet) and the commercials go very well together. Both the commercials and the virtual are suggesting that you can get your chicken any way you like it therefore they coincide with each other. The only problem is on the website it does not mention “the king” at all. Maybe they could have flashes between “the king” and the chicken that was in its garter.
4. What other recommendations would you make to Burger King and CPB to help them improve the integration of BK’s promotion mix?
Burger King could give out more coupons open to the public. Possibly, give a better variety of commercials when they are promoting. Whenever doing the commercials, zero in on the product more so than the comedy aspect of the company. Whenever you look at McDonald’s commercials you will notice they focus on the food not to so much the characters that represent the company. More ideas could be, build boards on the side of highways and/or insert ads into magazines. Overall we believe that the CPB are leading Burger King in the right direction. We all agree that their profits should increase.
Burger King. 2006. Burger King Brands Inc. 7 November 2006. <http://www.bk.com>.
Crispin Porter + Bogusky. 2006. Crispin Porter + Bogusky. 8 November 2006. <http://www.cpbgroup.com>.
Kotler, Phillip, and Gary Armstrong. Principles of Marketing. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2006.