In the fiercely competitive fast food category, Burger King faced declining consideration in the all-important 18 – 34 year old millennial demographic. A new breed of competitors, such as Chipotle, was connecting with youth via a shared sense of purpose and social good, positioning BK as old fashioned.
Peace One Day is a global non-profit organisation whose goal is to make United Nations Peace Day, on 21 September, an annual day of non-violence and global unity. Each year it campaigns tirelessly to raise awareness of Peace Day under the theme ‘Who Will You Make Peace With?’ The objectives were twofold: increase brand consideration for Burger King and raise awareness of Peace Day 2015.
Burger King made a highly visible proposal to McDonald’s, inviting its rival to collaborate on a truly one-of-a-kind product: The McWhopper. The proposed mash-up burger would combine key ingredients from each restaurant’s signature product, The Big Mac and The Whopper, to be prepared and served on one day only, United Nations Peace Day, 21st September 2015.
The McWhopper campaign wasn’t made social, it was born social. Burger King was confident that had it approached McDonald’s behind closed doors, they would have said no. So by making the proposal so very public (via two of the world’s most famous newspapers, various outdoor executions, a campaign microsite, and the leading social platforms), agency Y&R New Zealand knew McD’s would be more inclined to respond.
However, the proposal was so diligently planned, success did not hinge on a yes or a no – the agency created a comprehensive suite of campaign assets to inspire engagement no matter what. It was a completely integrated approach designed to empower the public and media to create and share do-it-yourself McWhoppers, further spreading awareness. It was all very well for the world to take notice, but it wanted the world to take action.
BK published an open letter in traditional and social, inviting McD’s to collaborate in creating and serving the McWhopper on Peace Day. The proposal was supported by tactical outdoor and spearheaded by mcwhopper.com, a multimedia toolkit of co-branded assets: staff apparel, signage, and a pop-up restaurant. Every asset was designed to be visually iconic and translate into multiple languages, for ease of share-ability.
The proposal was met by frenzied public support, so McDonald’s drew criticism when it turned down the offer. Inspired by BK’s online Burger Build film, tens of thousands of people took matters into their own hands by creating and sharing do-it-yourself McWhoppers on mainstream and social media - integrating the competitor’s product with Burger King's own.
Simultaneously, four other rival restaurants raised their hands for peace and together with BK created the historic ‘Peace Day Burger’, a symbolic mash-up available at an Atlanta pop-up on Peace Day only.
The campaign resulted in 8.9 billion media impressions. Furthermore, earned media value was estimated at $138m (Source: ABPR, Personally Inside, Llorente y Cuenca, Ketchurn, Evercom, Weber Shandwick, Emanate and Cison).
McWhopper became the number one trending topic on Facebook and Twitter, and drew over 10,000 DIY McWhopper reviews on YouTube PEACE ONE DAY.
According to Toluna Research (Sept 2015), it resulted in a +40% increase in Peace Day awareness (from 30% to 43% of the US population). Worldwide, it saw a +16% increase in Peace Day awareness (Source: McKinsey and Company (Oct 15).
“The McWhopper campaign is the single highest contributor ever towards Peace Day awareness” - McKinsey and Company.