Commentary by: David
Issue: The Burger King to star in Halo-type video Games
Advertising Age reports today that in addition to stalking BK consumers, winning log-rolling championships and romancing Brooke Burke, the Burger King (as incarnated by Crispin Porter) will soon be starring in a video game. This story was broken by Kotaku.com and confirmed by AdAge.
Our quick take? Great idea, terrible brand. While we sympathize with the desire to create more engagement around the brand, we believe that engagement is not useful unless it builds the brand equity. What builds brand equity? Talking about some crazy stunts that the brand mascot has pulled? Possibly – but only if those stunts link to something unique, ownable and relevant about the brand. We do not see how getting shot up – or shooting people up will build the Burger King brand.
Why is Burger King doing this? They have mistaken effect for cause. The big consumers at fast food restaurants are young single adult males. They are hugely profitable for these restaurants. There is no argument here. But this is an EFFECT, not a CAUSE. These men are loyal to these restaurants because they built their loyalty as children. The loyalty was created by a family experience. In revisiting these restaurants and overconsuming they seek to recapture the sense of belonging that they lose once they are pushed out of the familial nest and before they build their own family.
Trying to win over these consumers as adults is foolish and may be largely futile. At best, fast-food chains risk turning them into value consumers, loyal to whichever chain offers the best discounts. At worst they will alienate the families that provide their future heavy consumers.
We applaud the marriage of video games and brands. Video games have been unjustly neglected by a marketing community which does not understand them or the gamer. But this is a bad move for Burger King. Parents will not appreciate seeing the Burger King in yet another very adult role – one even worse than the role of Stalker he has been playing on TV for the past year. And they may turn away from Burger King as a result.