Burger King Stuffs Consumer Wallets with Big Bucks
At a time when consumers are munching more peanut butter than porterhouse, what better way to engage them than by putting some greenbacks in their pockets? That’s exactly what Burger King did in the fall of 2008 when it dropped more than 14,000 of the King’s “wallets” in Chicago, Orlando and Phoenix. This buzz-generating program transformed a message of value that people had seen on TV into a rewarding experience for consumers and local Burger King restaurants.
“Our wallet drop was such a hit because it came at a perfect time and reached consumers directly,” says Cindy Syracuse, Senior Director of Cultural Marketing at Burger King. “At a time when people are strapped for cash, finding the King’s wallet was a welcome surprise that offered a dose of comic relief with a reminder about Burger King restaurants’ great Value Menu offerings.”
Lucky consumers found black billfolds on sidewalks, in bus stops, on subway seats, in phone booths and in other spots where Burger King Super Fans, men ages 18 to 29 who frequent quick-serve restaurants, pass throughout their day. Agency brand ambassadors secretly distributed the wallets in drop zones consisting of work and commuter thoroughfares, college campuses and areas closest to BK restaurants. The wallets inspired conversations and drove traffic with Crown Cards (gift cards, mostly for $5, but some held as much as $100) and market maps showing all local BK restaurants.
Additional fun stuff included the King’s driver’s license, a tongue-in-cheek royal ID card that informed consumers whose wallet they’d found; the King’s business card, with phone and email contact info; a fictitious jewelry cleaner’s claim check for the King’s bling; and some dough, mostly one-dollar bills, but the occasional C-note—all with the King’s face pasted on top of the president’s face. A Good Samaritan sticker prominently displayed inside the wallet assured the loot was finder’s keepers.
People were so enthused with their booty, they thanked the King on blogs and Twitter, quickly generating buzz and social currency. They also called and emailed the King himself. “We were amazed by how many people left messages,” Syracuse says. “It further solidified people’s love and interest in the King as a pop culture icon.”
For Burger King, the results were a whopper of a success. With less than a $500,000 budget, the company impacted three priority markets and generated more than five million media impressions. Consumers redeemed more than half of the Crown Cards and contacted the King via 750 voicemail messages and 50 emails.