The Deconstructed Brief

BK Chicken Launch

bk chicken tenders launch

Brand: Burger King
Agency: MullenLowe Boston


Burger King is known for one thing: its burgers. It built its brand on its flame-grilled burgers, going so far as to showcase actual restaurant locations on fire in a campaign to drive home the point. Having spent millions establishing the brand as the destination for quality fast-food burgers — and taking into account the backlash against its chicken sandwich — it took the logical next step: launching a chicken-centric meal.

Burger King planned to debut it new menu item, crispy chicken tenders. At best, the brand needed to announce the launch of a product consumers already believed it offered. At worst, it needed them to consider Burger King for a product that had never been there before.

How do you get people excited for a product they think they already love or don’t know to look for?

The idea:

A Burger King film crew performed a series of man-on-the-street interviews in New York City to ask consumers their opinion of Burger King’s Crispy Chicken Tenders — a product it did not offer until September 20. Despite having never had the product, interviewees attested to their love for the meal option and lauded its taste and quality.

New menu offerings have helped Burger King remain competitive against other fast-food restaurants, like McDonald’s and Taco Bell: Same-store sales at Burger King jumped 4.6 percent in the quarter, nearly double the 2.5 percent that analysts had predicted. The company said that a balance of value promotions and new menu items helped boost same-store sales at Burger King during the quarter.

Successful sales of its chicken sandwich pushed the chain to add the new menu offering nationwide. Burger King partnered with Grubhub to offer consumers special deals on their orders next week.

Key insight

Our new bestseller is imaginary.

What they said:

“The Crispy Chicken Sandwich we introduced last year took the chicken category by storm, so we know our new Crispy Chicken Tenders will hit a sweet spot for our guests,” said Christopher Finazzo, president, North America, for the Burger King brand.


Lessons to be learned:

  • Seize the opportunity. — Consumers’ misperceptions surrounding Burger King’s menu could have come and gone; however, consumer insight provided an opportunity to capitalize on the misassociation. Exploiting the moment resulted in a humorous advertisement that creates a direct connection to the heart of the issue.

  • Allow people to laugh [at themselves]. — The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey polled more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries to measure consumer sentiment on 19 forms of advertising formats. Almost half (47%) of global respondents agreed that humorous ads resonated most. The self-deprecating humor exhibited by the spot allows viewers to laugh, while absolving them of guilt.

  • Keep it real. — A number of recent campaigns from Burger King have hinged on showcasing the real reactions of real people. Award-winning campaigns showcasing consumers’ reactions to everything from bullying to gender inequality serve as the crux of its efforts and its own version of authenticity.