Posts Tagged ‘Burger King’
It’s amazing the PR trouble one disgruntled employee can create with a good old-fashioned roadside sign.
The Burger King billboard at left, which reads “Now Hiring Must Be Mexican,” was recently photographed at a franchise in Ephrata, Washington. After the issue was reported by local radio station KFFM, the story began drawing broader attention — and plenty of ire.
In response to the widening controversy, Burger King released the following statement on its Facebook page, explaining that the offensive sign was the act of a single disgruntled employee, who has since been fired.
“The sign in question was posted briefly last summer, without approval, at a franchisee-owned and operated restaurant. Please know the franchisee has informed us that the employee who posted and photographed this sign was immediately terminated as a result. The Burger King® team is dedicated to diversity and inclusion.”
In media headlines, you can hear the echoes of “The Fast Food Wars” banging down the fries-encrusted, grease-stained hallways of restaurants everywhere. As PR professionals, we think a claim like that is fluff, as if the conflict will keep us watching or reading for another few minutes.
And then when we see a story like this from Reuters, perhaps copywriters are onto something. In summary, for 40 years, the Clown has provided Heinz ketchup to its millions served. Recently, Heinz has hired a new CEO for a reinvigorated era in its history. Unfortunately for them, that new CEO is Bernardo Hees…former grand poobah of Burger King.
And so, McDonald’s is ending that relationship with Heinz. Let the wars continue:
“We value the relationship we’ve maintained with Heinz for more than 40 years. As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time. We have spoken to Heinz and plan to work together to ensure a smooth and orderly transition of the McDonald’s restaurant business, and are confident that there will be no impact to our business, our customers and our great tasting food at McDonald’s.”
Imagine you are working PR for Heinz. Your company hires a great guy with blazing executive past, but he’s got that secret — he led the dreaded enemy of your largest vendor for years. Someone care to throw up a red flag there? In the world of cutthroat capitalism, surely this idea had to be hurled against a whiteboard.
However, like a monkey with his poo, that idea was just stinky to the people making big bucks. And no, that’s not egg on Heinz’s face. Just putting that out there.
MEMO to Hunts and Del Monte: Your move.
It’s only Wednesday and Burger King already won the prize for “most obvious marketing stunt of the week” with its supposed transformation into “Fries King.”
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) October 1, 2013
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) October 2, 2013
Twitter’s response can be summed up in a single word: TROLL! Hold on though, because it’s a little more complicated than that.
Here’s a hint: when creating a damage control campaign, make sure your information is correct, because “spread the blame” strategies can come back to bite you.
UK retailer Tesco, which found itself in trouble last year over traces of horse meat detected in various products including Burger King sandwiches, has been criticized by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for making “misleading” claims. These charges related to a full-page release published in UK papers earlier this year under the headline “What burgers have taught us.”
It’s an effective damage control statement, and the BBC even called it “a strange bit of poetry”, but it also reads like a cop-out.
As public relations professional we are constantly extolling the virtues of listening to the public.
Sadly, many brands feel most comfortable being A-type personalities and feel as if they must own the marketing room whenever they decide to walk into it. What does the public want? Why, we’ll tell them what they want. Though this strategy exudes confidence, it also requires significant energy and a product and service to back up a grandiose brand promise.
Telling the public what they want is like teaching a cat to play golf. Cats don’t like to play golf. Cats like to do cat things. The public likes do public things. And what does the public like to do? Put french fries in its burgers. In fact, the public has been sticking french fries in its burgers since the 1970s at least, and probably long before then.
Burger King, exercising our sage advice that it is always a good idea to listen to the public, to study the public, to talk to the public and hold the public’s hand and ask if everything is okay, and then go back to corporate headquarters and start brainstorming PR strategies and marketing campaigns. The public will show you what they want; brands just have to pay attention. Read more
Well, it looks like those of you with lofty dreams of chowing down on a Burger King Whopper while keeping both hands free to paint a masterpiece or build a jet engine will have to keep on dreaming.
A recent video released by Burger King in Puerto Rico in celebration its 50th anniversary featured customers getting creative with their new-found hands-freedom by playing music, giving tattoos, and performing other feats of manual dexterity all while eating a whopper.
But multitasking burger eaters everywhere have had their hopes dashed by Burger King’s announcement that “The video featuring a ‘hands-free’ Whopper Sandwich holder was produced by an agency in Puerto Rico to celebrate the brand and the iconic Whopper Sandwich in a humorous way. However, the product depicted in the spot was not produced, or distributed to guests as some reports indicate.”
While it seems burger-eaters will still have to take lunch breaks like the rest of us, we suppose no one is stopping a particularly driven engineer from creating a burger-holding apparatus of their own…someone get on this.
Transparency is PR gold. Transparency requires courage, honesty and humility. The public loves transparency because the public is comprised of adults who understand the inevitability of bad news and the value taking responsibility. Without transparency nothing moves forward.
So adding transparency to the customer experience is a wise PR strategy for Chick-fil-A particularly after a recent spate of controversy over the gay marriage issue. As an overture to the public, Chick-fil-A is offering customers instant behind-the-counter tours of any of its 1,700 franchises at any time. So if you have run out of ideas about where to take your next date, you’re in luck. Chick-fil-A has the utmost confidence you’ll be impressed by its dedication to clean facilities and healthy ingredients.
This PR stunt is designed to have people like us write blog posts and create buzz drawing attention to Chick-fil-A’s newest menu items, the Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap and updated salads. (So done and done. Well played Chick-fil-A.) However, Chick-fil-A may be overestimating the public’s interest in witnessing how their food is made. This isn’t foie gras. It’s fast food. Most people wouldn’t choose to work in a Chick-fil-A kitchen for money let alone spend their free time in one. Seriously, Chick-fil-A?
The public understands that our culture is changing and fast food chains need to keep up with evolving palates. Chick-fil-A has been on the winning arc of that trend, whereas burger brands such as McDonald’s and Burger King have struggled to adjust. Nevertheless, just as the public doesn’t want to see chickens slaughtered on premise as a guarantee of freshness, we really don’t want to see chicken sandwiches made either. Read more
PR professionals are inherently interested in fast food brands because the trajectory of public sentiment has trended toward healthier eating habits. This puts fast food brands in an obvious pickle. As we all know, fast food chains are perceived as being anything but healthy.
So what are companies like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King to do as the human species shifts away from greasy burgers and buckets of soda? Well, offering healthier choices is the logical place to start. And Burger King is doing just that: the company just announced the Spring 2013 debut of its new turkey burger, which will retail for $3.99. This new offering is the latest in a not-so-new trend for fast food brands as they scramble to keep up with the public’s changing diet.
However, these changes also reflect a tacit admission by fast food brands that their traditional menus are unhealthy. As PR people, we advocate transparency and telling the truth. But we also recognize that by offering a turkey sandwich, apple slices or reduced fat shakes, fast food chains may in fact lose some of the public’s support. After all, how many times have you heard this conversation:
Fast sex, like fast food, is cheap, but it doesn’t nourish the body – or the soul. – Suzanne Fields
Burger King has selected Alison Brod PR, an indie lifestyle shop, as its Agency of Record. Alison Brod will help Burger King implement ambitious steps to market to women (the agency already has a robust list of-female focused brands in its portfolio).
Before machines the only form of entertainment people really had was relationships. – Doug Copeland
Los Angeles based entertainment agency Industry Public Relations (IPR) has merged with New York City lifestyle and events agency LuxeLife Media (LLM). IPR, a boutique entertainment public relations firm ran by Tracy Nguyen and Kisha Maldonado-Madrid, has expanded the agency and the firm’s east coast presence by partnering up with LuxeLife Media founder Christina Rice.
Operating under one name, LLM clients have folded into the Industry Public Relations roster. In addition, IPR has added VIBE Media to its growing client roster, serving as AOR for the iconic publishing brand as it celebrates its 20th year anniversary. Under the new merger, Rice will lead the east coast operations and Nguyen / Maldonado-Madrid will continue to lead the west coast operations.
When I tour, I stuff fridges full of organic food and stick to that. – Avril Lavigne
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