Burger King is using a controversial approach to promote their brand and compete for the fast food consumer. "Have It Your Way" was the BK slogan for years, and was launched to fly in the face of its major competitor, McDonalds. The rival franchise refused to alter orders to suit people who didn't like onions or wanted extra pickles, and Burger King was only too happy to make them look bad by being accommodating to the customer.
This strategy proved successful and for years the two burger giants have targeted each other with marketing plans to tempt the loyalty of each other's customer base. The population has grown, but so has the number of choices for the pre-made food consumer. Wendy's and Chic-Fil-A have become huge and are ready to take the throne from McD and BK, the first and second largest fast food companies in America.
Now Burger King has upped the stakes by introducing not only a sensitive topic into their advertising with mental health, but a decidedly bold technique. Partnering with Mental Health America, the burger giant is tackling a socially relevant issue with the "Feel Your Way" campaign.
The signature YouTube ad for this could be called "the feel bad commercial of the year". It features young people bemoaning how badly they feel and the situations that caused it. Financial stress, job loss, being judged, bullied and hurt, they want to be allowed to "Feel My Way". They get the message across using language and behavior not typically employed to sell things to the American public. Words such as "crappy" and "suck it", a deleted expletive accompanied by displaying the best known rude gesture make for a truly edgy marketing tool.
Fast Food and Furious
This anti-Happy Meal product is a series of boxes to order with your Whopper that say: "P...d, Blue ,Salty ,YAAAS, or DGAF Meal". The idea is that no one feels good all the time and it's okay to acknowledge when you don't. The narrative is far from uplifting, but arguably effective. Where some would regard this as a form of advocacy for mental health, others are less impressed.
Not everyone is on board with the campaign, including some parents who object to the negative and what they consider vulgar titles of the meals. Burger King has been the object of come criticism from those who accuse them of cashing in on the misfortunes of victims of mental illness.
Still BK, its marketing company, and MHA insist that though some folks might not approve of the delivery, the program has people talking about the issue of mental health. And that can't be all bad in May, Mental Health Awareness Month.
If you are interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Mental Health section of our blog.
And if you are interested in working with those with mental and developmental challenges, please contact us to learn more about our opportunities.
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