Return of the Burger ‘King’ Sparks Media Explosion
The super-competitive QSR category boasts many brand icons, including a clown, a red-headed kid and a colonel, but among them one reigns supreme: Burger King’s the King. The King had been out of the public eye for years, until he escorted Floyd Mayweather in his ring walk before his “Fight of the Century” against Manny Pacquiao and appeared in the box alongside American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert during the Belmont Stakes. Both moments re-introduced the King to a global audience, including millennials, in “WTF” moments that created a social media explosion and nearly two billion media impressions.
Burger King’s strategy was to leave people confused—but intrigued, surprised and delighted and asking themselves, “How did that even happen?” The answer was an award-winning formula: a major event, plus an alignment with visible figures, plus access to the most pivotal moment in broadcast to result in a conversation catalyst. Like Mayweather’s ring walk, which had never been touched by a sponsor before, and a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to integrate the King into the social fabric. The next moment, American Pharoah competing for the Triple Crown at the Belmont, drew record interest and viewership numbers.
The strategy transcended sports and crossed over into pop culture and lifted sales at a record-breaking rate. Snapchat captured the King in the dressing room before the fight, and the King’s entrance with Mayweather was the No. 1 trending hashtag (#maypac) worldwide. As Burger King responded when asked why by the media: “We don’t call him the King for nothing.” Indeed.