After being edged out as the United State’s number two hamburger chain by Wendy’s, Burger King is embarking on an extremely ambitious marketing initiative. The fast food giant will be rolling out new décor, adding delivery options, and offering new menu items including garden salads, real fruit smoothies, and snack wraps.
To promote the company’s rebrand, a new commercial for Burger King’s chicken wrap was posted on the fast food chain’s YouTube account and is certainly creating quite the buzz – just not in the way the brand had probably intended.
In the spot, Mary J. Blige soulfully sings about the brand’s new crispy chicken wrap to the tune of “Don’t Mind” from her latest CD.
The singer’s appearance in Burger King’s ad let loose a flood of fury. Since its release, African Americans have criticized the brand for playing to stereotypes. Many also criticized Blige for “selling out”.
The ad was yanked from YouTube (for what the company describes as music licensing issues – not because of its criticism). However, it has since gone viral and has even been remixed.
And while many people have written articles describing what a disaster this has been for Burger King, many also believe the “slip-up” was intentional and that Burger King hoped their ad would lure in bloggers and the media to help boost the publicity for the its rebranding efforts.
The art of advertising has evolved quite a bit within the last five to ten years, and many public relations professionals would argue that there is no such thing as bad publicity. For example, in 2010, McDonald’s announced they would be re-releasing their McRib sandwich – a sandwich that failed miserably when it was added to McDonald’s menu in the 80s. The news quickly spread across the internet, and while there were certainly people advocating the brand and its sandwich, there were just as many people (if not more) blasting it. The relaunch of the sandwich ended up being a huge success for McDonald’s suggesting that negative buzz or controversy creates interest and can even translate into huge sales.
So, what do you think? Is all buzz good buzz?