Thursday, February 12, 2009

Are you a burger virgin?

I hope you're not.

Doesn't that just look delicious? Ignore those diets and give in to trans-fat freedom!

Burgers have transgressed through American culture faster than credit card debt. From corner greasy spoons to your local McChain, how can the super-saturated burger companies get their product into your belly?

McDonalds? Boring. Celebrity appearances, cutesy kids commercials and all the rest don't work much better. Here's a creepy one that's definately not PG-13:

There's also some creepy McDonalds Japan ads:

Wendy's? They've done a good job at least pushing the quality and freshness of their product. That is until they literally blow up their customers:

The cold war also introduced some very interesting commercials into North American pop culture:

What I've been enjoying most of all has been Burger King's take. Their 2007-2008 campaign has won numerous awards, thanks to strong brand positioning (including an Xbox game!) and innovative disruptive campaigns. None were more disruptive than the "Whopper Freakout". What happens when you take away "America's Favorite Burger"? Watch and see.

Whom better to sell your company's products than their loyal customers? Whopper sales apparently grew double digits after that one. More recently, however none the less controversial is the "Whopper Virgins" campaign. Burger King went around to remote villages where people had never even seen a burger before and did a taste test against the Big Mac. Again, there's a clear push to determine the best burger. However, what I found most interesting was the natives' interaction with the burger. Most have no idea to take the burger in your two hands and eat it; something that comes without thinking to us. The tactile, subliminal relationship we have to the items we are marketed is one of the strongest principles of consumer adhesion. We're used to opening a Big Mac box. We're accustomed to opening a bottle of coke. We know how to open a bag of chips. These people aren't accustomed to such. It's incredible the influence and teachings in our media to show us how we interact with our everyday purchases.

And of course, what's a great piece of viral marketing without controversy?

As consumers, we've been molded and taught to not only buy certain products over others, but how to interact and attain them. The focus of marketing cannot be limited solely to the products themselves. More and more marketing is branching out to "lifestyle" products, meaning that convincing and showing how a product works into a certain class of living is just important as the product itself (case in point; running shoes, power drinks, etc.).

Are burgers a lifestyle product? To a certain extent perhaps. Most of us aren't burger virgins.

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