Brand: Burger King
Execution: Adver-game (Self-Liquidating Promotion)
Target: Kids and young adults
Reviewer: David Vinjamuri
Burger King and Crispin, Porter & Bogusky have created a series of Adver-games for the Microsoft X-Box 360 featuring the Crispin Porter character “The King” and sold at Burger King stores. Kate Macarthur at AdAge reports:
Sporting titles such as “Pocketbike Racer,” “Big Bumpin”‘ and “Sneak King” and featuring the King, his pal Brooke Burke, the Whopper Jr. and the Subservient Chicken, the games are compatible with the Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms. Each game is available for $3.99 with the purchase of a BK Value Meal. Some stores sold the titles individually, while others sold them as packs.
Crispin, Porter reports that the games have sold 2.7 million copies in the first five weeks of availability, putting them on the top ten list of games sold for the X-Box 360 in 2006.
While we have been critical of Crispin, Porter’s efforts on behalf of Burger King in the past, we feel that adver-games are a great idea for Burger King and an underused marketing tactic overall. Even given their low production value relative to commercial games, an entertaining adver-game gives the marketer an opportunity to deliver the brand message in a more relevant and impactful manner than through conventional media. And as a self-liquidating promotion (i.e. a promotion whose minimal cost to the consumer nevertheless pays for the production and distribution cost of the promotion), it is an extremely effective way to reach nearly 3 million brand users with a strong brand message.
Using the King as the hero in these games also puts them a step above the famous ‘Subservient Chicken’ promotion (also created by Crispin Porter for Burger King) in branding terms. There is no question that kids playing these games will remember Burger King and that the brand experience will be enriched. Adver-games also play more to the important youth audience for the brand than bored office workers.
Although these adver-games are extremely effective at delivering the brand message for Burger King, we still do not agree with the brand message. In fact, we are not sure that we understand it. The King is an edgy action-figure-cum-celeb-cum-best-friend, but what does that say about Burger King? What does the restaurant own in positioning terms? We’re not suggesting a features and benefits pitch here, but we’d at least like to see Burger King staking its claim on a particular user or context for the brand.
Adver-games can be tricky, too because marketers are not game makers and may not be able to judge whether the game product coming from an agency will be greeted enthusiastically by gamers.
Branding Bottom Line:
Crispin Porter puts the creepy King where he belongs – in an X-box.