- Burger King unveiled the Big King XL sandwich, which the brand says has 175% more beef than a McDonald’s Big Mac, and is “flame-grilling the competition” in its new campaign, according to a news release.
- On Jan. 18, Burger King will offer consumers the chance to swap their expired MacCoins for a free Big King XL sandwich at select Chicago locations.
- McDonald’s distributed MacCoins last year for the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac, but they are no longer redeemable for a Big Mac as of Dec. 31.
So called “hackvertising” — in which a brand hijack's another marketer's media for its own purposes — and other marketing stunts are becoming a go-to strategy for Burger King, with taking over McDonald’s MacCoin campaign just the latest example. Specifically, Burger King is playing into the confusion that the McDonald’s MacCoin campaign caused some consumers, who incorrectly thought the “first fully food-backed global currency,” as the company called it, was a genuine cryptocurrency instead of simply a coupon. McDonald’s planned to make 6.2 million of the actual brass-colored coins available, and said the idea was inspired by The Economist’s Big Mac Index, created by the magazine in 1986 to compare international currencies in a light-hearted way. Now that the McDonald's promotion is over, Burger King hopes to drum up some exposure and sales by offering consumers a chance to use any leftover MacCoins.
McDonald's is big focus for Burger King in its marketing strategy. Last month, Burger King debuted a “Whopper Detour” stunt that uses mobile geofencing to steer customers away from McDonald’s. When smartphone users were within 600 feet of most McDonald’s locations, they could order a Burger King Whopper for a penny using the brand’s BK app. The app navigated consumers away from McDonald’s to the nearest Burger King to pick up their orders. The campaign aimed to highlight Burger King’s order-ahead feature in its redesigned mobile app.
The stunts come as competition among fast food brands is heating up, and many have been using good-natured trolling and ribbing at their rivals to stand out and appeal to social media-savvy consumers, who enjoy the banter. Burger King is not alone in poking fun at its competitors. On #NationalFrozenFoodDay, Wendy’s took jabs at McDonald’s on Twitter, starting with the tweet, “Hey @McDonalds, heard the news. Happy #NationalFrozenFoodDay to you for all the frozen beef that's sticking around in your cheeseburgers.”
Burger King also recently hijacked Black Friday shopping with its Whopper-Shopper.com site that featured online banner ads from other brands, like Walmart and Macy’s. Shoppers couls create an account on the site, and when they clicked on one of the banner ads and made a purchase, Burger King, as the owner of the site, received a percentage of the sale. Burger King then gave the money made from the clicks back to consumers in the form of vouchers for Whoppers.