by Caroline J. Wahl
Are ten friends more valuable than a Whopper from Burger King? Burger King seems to think not. In a campaign that began when “crafted by Crispin Porter + Bogusky came about after agency creative staffers confronted the too-many-friends scenario themselves on Facebook” said the Huffington Post. In 2010, the Whopper Sacrifice was a mobile phone application that the user downloaded. After, the user downloaded the application they were prompted to log in to their Facebook account. The application tracked the number of friends the user deleted from their Facebook account then when the user reached 10 deleted accounts, that person was rewarded with a voucher for a free Whooper from Burger King. The biggest problem that Facebook had with The Whopper Campaign was that it let the 10 people who got deleted that the person deleted them to show that a Whopper was chosen over them.
This campaign was short lived once Facebook became involved saying that the application “facilitated activity that ran counter to user privacy by notifying people when a user removes a friend”. Michael Arrington said, Facebook ended up terminating the app’s ability to function properly with “233,906 friends were removed by 82,771 people in less than a week”. Pictured above is the counter that kept the running total of friends that had been deleted on Facebook using Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice App. Executive Interactive Creative Director at Crispin, Jeff Benjamin said the purpose of the campaign was to ask “the question of which love is bigger, your love for your friends or your love for the Whopper”. The sole purpose of the campaign as Jeff says is basically picking one thing over another to show the superiority of the Whopper.
Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice campaign is categorized as a social media fail. Even though people participated, the campaign did not even last more than a week before Facebook shut it down bringing the campaign to a screeching halt. Burger King spent $301 million on media advertisement in the U.S. in 2010. Maureen Morrison said,
“Burger King did see a sales increase after CP&B signed on, but sales turned south in 2009, with the company reporting negative same-store sales from second-quarter 2009 through third-quarter 2010, the most recent quarter publicly reported. Technomic estimates that Burger King’s U.S. sales for 2010 were down 2.5% to $8.7 billion.”
The Whopper campaign was unsuccessful in generating that many more visits to Burger King as only around 88,000 people actually participated in the deleting of ten friends. The Whopper campaign made people disconnect on social media to win a free burger. I feel that if the campaign would have made you add ten friends on Facebook to get a free Whopper many more people would have participated. Social Network connections now are taken as seriously as a real life connection, so when someone deletes a Facebook friend it can translate into a problem in real life.
Instead Burger King should have strategically worked out a plan with Facebook so that they would have created a plan that was solid enough to last longer than a week and gain more traction. This goes to show incorporating social media into a business’ advertising plans will not always pan out in a positive way.
Arrington, M. (2009, January 14). Facebook Blows A Whopper Of An Opportunity. Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://techcrunch.com/2009/01/14/facebook-blows-a-whopper-of-an-opportunity/
Cross-Promotional Fails: Burger King Un-Friends Facebook Over ‘Whopper Sacrifice’ Snafu. (2009, January 16). Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/cross-promotion-fail-burger-king-unfriends-facebook-from-whopper-sacrifice
Morrison, M. (2011, March 21). Crispin’s Breakup With the King Results in $300 Million Whopper Sacrifice. Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://adage.com/article/news/burger-king-crispin-breakup-a-300m-whopper-sacrifice/149497/
Shea, D. (n.d.). Whopper Sacrifice, Burger King’s Facebook Promotion: Delete 10 Friends For Free Whopper. Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/08/burger-kings-facebook-pro_n_156320.html
Whopper Sacrifice Forced to Disable Behavior by Facebook (Updated). (2009, January 14). Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/whopper-sacrifice-shut-down-by-facebook/216454