- Burger King Germany launched a geotargeted campaign that builds on the publicity for horror movie "It Chapter Two" while taking aim at rival McDonald's, according to a press release shared with Mobile Marketer. The campaign urges McDonald's customers to "Escape the Clown," a reference to the chain's classic clown mascot, Ronald McDonald.
- While visiting a McDonald's restaurant, customers will receive a geotargeted message on Facebook or Instagram that tells them to use their smartphones to use the Burger King app to scan an article in McDonald's movie magazine. An "Escape the Clown" button will appear that, when clicked, shows an augmented reality (AR) red balloon — a reference to "It" — and a coupon for a one-cent Whopper.
- Guests have a limited time to "flee and run" from McDonald's to redeem the coupon. The Burger King app uses geolocation information to determine the quickest route to its nearest restaurant and shows a countdown clock. Those who make it in time can redeem the coupon for a real one-cent Whopper. "All guests are welcome at Burger King — including those who flee the clown in fear," Klaus Schmäing, Burger King Deutschland's director of marketing, said in a statement.
Burger King Germany's latest marketing gambit adds a mobile element to past campaigns inspired by "It," the movie series based on a Stephen King horror novel whose Pennywise the Dancing Clown terrorizes kids. By targeting McDonald's customers as they sit in its restaurants, Burger King aims to "conquest" mobile customers with a geotargeted campaign that urges them to visit its nearest locations. The campaign also includes AR features to engage customers with a more immersive experience than TV or print ads can offer, leveraging another popular feature of many mobile apps.
The #EscapeTheClown campaign follows past conquesting efforts that rely on the latest mobile technologies for geotargeting. Last year, Burger King boosted downloads of its mobile app by 1.5 million with its "Whopper Detour" stunt campaign that offered 1-cent Whoppers to smartphone users who were near rival McDonald's locations in the U.S. The campaign helped to boost the Burger King app to the most downloaded app in Apple's App Store for several days in a row and the most downloaded QSR app in the U.S. among direct competitors.
Two years ago, Burger King chains in different countries ran campaigns that featured scary clowns in reference to "It" and Ronald McDonald. Burger King Germany's effort included an in-theater activation that used two spotlights to project the message "The Moral Is: Never Trust a Clown" and the Burger King logo as the movie's end credits appeared. In the U.S., Burger King promoted a "Scary Clown Night" that offered free Whoppers to the first 500 guests who dressed as a clown and visited restaurants in several cities.
Mobile marketing has become a key strategy for Burger King in many countries. In France, Burger King this week introduced the "Democratic Burger" to give consumers the chance to vote on founder's day, a French holiday that celebrates democracy. In Brazil, Burger let mobile users virtually burn up the competition's out-of-home ads with an AR animation that revealed a coupon for a free Whopper. In the U.S., the brand pushed downloads by creating a contest for people saddled by student loan debts.