Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Burger King France continues to live in the absurd with droll Christmas partnership

Burger King France has proven not to stray too far from the antics of its American counterpart, partnering with French clothing company Rad to create a holiday sweater meant for mobile augmentation. 

The Interactive Christmas Jumper was designed and manufactured through the partnership, and features, quite conspicuously, a pocket that looks like the opening of a fireplace: users can put their smartphone running a flames video to create the illusion of a real burning fireplace. The campaign mirrors other whimsical efforts put on my brands in the name of the holiday season, including Netflix?s ?Fireplace for Your Home? series.

"Fast food ads that focus on delicious-looking food and finish with a call-to-action about value have been obsolete for a long, long time, and Burger King has began adding more creative and conceptual campaigns a long, long time ago?although to be sure, BK still runs plenty of traditional spots," said James McNally, director of digital strategy at TDT, New York. "The goal here is buzz?brands and agencies need to cut through the unending deluge of promo content, and connect with consumers around something more emotional or memorable. 

"BK in particular has had some success in this regard, and consumers who pay attention to the quick service space do expect a sense of humor from the brand."

Interactive Christmas Jumper
Users interested in the unique sweaters can visit Rad?s mobile-optimized Web site and order one of the sweaters, which currently run at $32. The sweaters come in two versions, blue and green, both of which carry essentially the same design featuring a ?Flame Grilled? banner emblazoned across the chest.

The sweaters also feature classic Christmas patterning, with snowflakes, gingerbread men, and ornamental designs providing some contrast for the Whopper which acts as the centerpiece. 

And, yes, the hoodie pocket is illustrated to look like a fireplace.

Burger King France produced a video in promotion of the collaboration, which illustrates the appeal of the meme sweater.

"To amplify this campaign, BK could look at ephemeral social content like Snapchat or Instagram stories, considering that the central focus of the campaign is a hideous gag sweater," Mr. McNally said. "A content series on the brand's own properties could be funny and effective, and BK could possibly ask for UGC from consumers, although that's a very hard sell when the brand is asking the consumer to buy a 30 Euro product simply to take part."

Droll campaign
The campaign is in keeping with Burger King?s wider marketing approach, which tends towards the absurd. Previous campaigns include a series of commercials featuring its ?King? character and the infamous ?Subservient Chicken? campaign, one of the Internet?s first viral campaigns.

The fast food giant generated serious nostalgia with a campaign last year to bring back the 90?s favorite drink, the now-defunct Surge. It drummed up attention with a campaign and videos featuring comedian Pauly Shore to celebrate the release of its frozen version of the bygone soft drink (see story). 

And Burger King was not afraid to apply its creative vision to worthy causes: The Burger King McLamore Foundation unveiled an innovative new awareness campaign that universalizes the experience of illiteracy through the use of illegible packaging, auto-translatable Facebook ads and a mobile-optimized video (see story).

"This is a brand awareness play pure and simple?there isn't a burger in sight in the promo spot," Mr. McNally said. "BK's ultimate goals for this campaign are a bit hard to suss out; sure, it's a slightly funny ad spot, but trying to engage consumers by asking them to buy a 30 Euro gag sweater that they will wear once is a non-starter. 

"Ideally BK will feel that it's gotten it's money's worth for the video spot alone and for the brand positioning value of partnering with a brand like Rad in the French market. Ultimately this campaign is unlikely to drive much ongoing engagement or UGC, and the video should be considered primarily as a brand positioning effort aimed at the French consumer."