Burger King’s Moldy Whopper is the Epitome of Disruptive Advertising

Burger King® launched a new ad campaign featuring its decision to ditch artificial ingredients in its burgers. However, the brand didn’t take the traditional route and simply state its new and improved stance to become a better eatery. Instead, Burger King® takes an unorthodox approach through disruptive advertising. The new ad showcases a time lapse of a Whopper over the course of 34 days–which, by the end of the video is covered in a colorful variety of fluffy and fuzzy molds–to prove the use of no artificial preservatives.

disruptive advertising

The video is meant to assert that preservative-free foods will go bad after period of time. The campaign is said to be taking a stab at McDonald’s burgers, which have been documented over the years as being rather resistant to decomposition. This prime example of disruptive advertising forces consumers to think about what they’re putting into their bodies, and points the finger at restaurants that are using artificial preservatives.

The burger chain was already making strides toward becoming a healthier eatery with the introduction of the Impossible Whopper, which has made plant-based foods more accessible to vegetarians, flexitarians, and vegans. Burger King® has joined the fast food race to rid their restaurants of artificial preservatives–but is the chain promoting its decision in the best way?

In response to the video on Twitter, Burger King® has received many different reactions to its new campaign. While some people acknowledge the beauty of using preservative-free ingredients, others are not as willing to accept the disturbing image of a moldy Whopper. 

As a branding, marketing, and advertising agency, we are intrigued by the debate surrounding the Burger King® campaign, so we decided to start a conversation of our own. In this LinkedIn thread, many responses were in favor of Burger King’s decision, with others in passionate disagreement with the advertisement’s unconventional style. Read an excerpt of the thread below: 

disruptive advertising

Burger King’s moldy Whopper is downright disturbing for some people. However, the advertisement poses a serious question: What exactly are we putting into our bodies? With a quick Google search, we found only a handful of fast food restaurants claiming to have rid their menu of all – or some – artificial flavors, preservatives, and ingredients such as Panera Bread, Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. In 2018, in response to a decline in sales, even McDonald’s vowed to rid artificial additives in its seven classic burgers.

With this new campaign, Burger King® joins the race to become a cleaner fast food eatery. The chain is disrupting the market with its bold stance, and as a result is forcing others up to the plate. We find this to be remarkable advertising because it’s paving the way to a healthier world in the fast food space.

We applaud Burger King® for taking such a daring stance in its approach. Disruptive advertising can be a genius way to stand out amongst competitors and position a company as being forward-thinking.

“BK’s efforts as of late are a great way to acquire an expansion demographic audience with alignment, values, and set standards. This will work for that audience; however, it may dissuade some of their current core consumers. I don’t think this ad campaign is for people who just want tasty food–it’s for people who have a need to adopt a healthy, feel-good choice into their lifestyle,” said Ron Netanel, Founder of IDealogic® Brand Lab

While the reactions from the advertisement are mixed resulting, one thing is clear: Burger King means well in its intent. For the brand to announce that it’s ditching artificial preservatives means that the company is listening to the change in mindset consumers are having toward fast food.

It isn’t officially clear if Burger King’s move will result in an increase in sales or customers, but the brand is certainly being positioned as a fast food eatery that cares about what customers want. If anything, BK’s move will either force other fast food eateries to join the movement or be left behind. Significant brands are the ones that will take risks in order to meet the evolving expectations of customers. Through this gutsy approach, Burger King® is working its way up the ladder to become a leading fast food chain that takes a stand towards healthier eating.

What do YOU think of this bold move by Burger King? Would you consider this smart advertising or do you think it misses the mark? Comment your thoughts below!

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