How Burger King reigns supreme on social media

Alex Hackett

Group Director of Digital

I hate you Burger King. And no, it’s not just because your paper crowns only fit on the head of the average 10 year old / digital marketing executive, depriving me of my God-given right to feel imperious while inhaling a whopper.

No, it’s because your social media strategy is so, so good. Annoyingly, frustratingly, irritatingly good.

The US chain of absolute-monarchist patty-pushers have been going back in influencers’ timelines and liking tweets from nine or ten years ago.

This, of course, looks really, really weird. There’s nothing worse than accidentally liking a post that’s too deep in a user’s timeline for explanation after a long session of cyber stalking – far worse if you’re still logged into the company account. As expected, everyone from Hollywood to YouTube screen-shotted the bizarre notifications they received and tagged BK into a tweet asking for some clarity.

As predicted, each of these celebs did the brand’s bidding and promoted the activity to their millions of followers. Alas, this wasn’t the work of a butterfingered intern, it was all a stunt to promote the return of an obscure sugar-and-salt-slathered treat first launched in 2009 – ten years ago. Reams of coverage and zillions of impressions – all achieved with a few hours of clicking and scrolling.

So what can be learnt from all this hi-jinx? Essentially, I think, two things:

  1. You can still do a lot with a little on social. This campaign didn’t require billions in ad spend or even an outlay on graphics or video – it just needed time and effort. Even those brands with deep pockets like His Majesty the Burger know that savvy organic marketing can be just as effective as a blanket advertising blitz.
  2. Use all the available options. From the block button to your profile’s colour scheme, every social media facility can be gamed and leveraged for attention if the idea is good enough. Scrolling back a decade on a timeline is a function that has always been available, but no one had used it as a marketing exploit before. One must always be on the lookout for how a campaign can best work with the mechanics of the platform being used for a clever and innovative result.

Well done BK social media team, you win this round, now please can you address the paper crown issue cited above…

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