Miami-based Burger King is offering a coupon for a free Whopper to any person who watches DirecTV Channel 111, where footage of the chain’s signature sandwich is playing on an endless loop through Friday.
It’s hard to argue that somebody staring at the television for five minutes is working very hard toward a tangible goal. But in the case of Burger King’s “Whopper Lust” promotion, likely its last with outgoing agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, it’s true.
To prove that they are giving the rotating Whopper their undivided attention, viewers must press a series of buttons when prompted by the screen. Staring at the sandwich for five minutes earns a free-Whopper coupon, but people can keep going and win two Whoppers for 15 minutes or three sandwiches for 30 minutes.
Miami-based Crispin Porter said the rotating-sandwich video had been viewed for a total of 406,090 minutes as of mid-day Wednesday. It was “pretty evenly spread” between viewers stopping at the five-minute mark and those who pressed on for longer to get more Whoppers, said Jeff Benjamin, partner and chief creative officer for the agency.
Earlier this year, Burger King said it was ending its seven-year relationship with Crispin Porter, which was behind several award-winning campaigns and created Burger King’s commercials featuring mascot The King. Burger King named McGarryBowen its new agency of record June 1.
Benjamin said Crispin Porter and Burger King structured the offer this way to make it a branding opportunity, not just a giveaway.
“You could just ‘like’ something on Facebook to get a free product, but this is a better value exchange,” Benjamin said. “We’d rather have our consumers spending five minutes staring at the Whopper than just clicking like or sending their name and address. That’s always been too easy, but you put more value on the Whopper when you ask people to do something for it, like stare or ‘un-friend’ 10 people.”
The latter request was a reference to “Whopper Sacrifice,” where fans could get a free-Whopper coupon for ending their Facebook friendships with 10 people. Other campaigns for the signature sandwich included “Whopper Freakout,” in which the chain pretended to no longer sell the Whopper and recorded customers’ tirades, and “Whopper Virgins,” in which the brand went to foreign countries that had never had a Burger King location and filmed natives having a Whopper for the first time.
Putting so much creative muscle behind the signature product for which Burger King is already known also benefited other menu items and limited-time offers over the years, Benjamin said.
“We’ve done some iconic things for other products, but when we do great things for the Whopper, it lifts everything up,” he said. “It’s a tent-pole product.”
He added that Crispin Porter “for sure” would explore doing more interactive-TV promotions with other clients in the future as providers like DirecTV and Comcast proliferate the practice in the United States.
“We hadn’t spent a lot of time being creative in that space,” Benjamin said. “But then Burger King said they had this value-added thing that was an extra thrown into a media buy. Other agencies may have phoned it in [because the relationship was ending], but we thought this was an amazing opportunity. The lesson is, regardless of what media opportunity is in front of you, you always have the chance to do something successful.”
Crispin Porter’s remaining restaurant client is Domino’s Pizza.
Burger King has 12,251 quick-service restaurants worldwide. The chain did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.