A print ad from Burger King, where it invited arch-rival McDonald’s to unite and create a “McWhopper” collaboration burger in honor of Peace Day, was recently named one of the most effective print ads of the past year. The ad, which was presented as an open letter to McDonald’s, was certainly creative and great at grabbing attention. But what sort of impact did the ad actually have on consumers? We asked 1,000 respondents about their fast food eating habits and then tested how the ad impacted people’s choices.
In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 4% of respondents said that they purchase from fast food or quick service restaurants every day. 22% do so a few times per week. 38% said they eat fast food a few times a month. 15% do so a few times every three months. 11% do so less frequently than once every three months. And another 11% said that they aren’t fast food consumers at all.
McDonald’s seems to be the most popular fast food restaurant in terms of regular customers. 50% of quick service consumers said they eat there regularly. And just 33% eat at Burger King regularly. But 67% have at least tried Burger King, which was more than any other fast food restaurant on the list.
In general, respondents seem more likely to choose McDonald’s over Burger King and other popular restaurants for their next fast food purchases. 15% of fast food consumers overall said that they would be certain or practically certain about choosing McDonald’s for their next fast food purchase. And 10% said they would be practically certain about choosing Burger King.
However, of those who viewed the McWhopper ad, 12% said they would be practically certain about choosing Burger King for their next fast food purchase. And 16% said they would be practically certain about choosing McDonald’s. Just 19% of respondents who viewed the ad said that they’ve previously heard of Peace Day. Those respondents were more likely to choose Burger King over the other ad viewers. But they were also more likely to say that they’d choose McDonald’s for their next purchase, though the increase was more pronounced for Burger King.
Respondents as a whole seem to think that Burger King is made by a trustworthy company, held in high esteem and reflective of the kind of person they are. They also ranked Burger King highly in terms of taste. Respondents ranked McDonald’s highly in terms of value, and said they feel it is made by a trustworthy company. The McWhopper ad didn’t seem to make much of a difference in terms of those characteristics. Those respondents selected those same attributes for Burger King and McDonald’s at pretty much the same rates.
While the McWhopper ad may have a positive impact on people’s opinions of Burger King and their chances of eating there, it seems to also have a positive impact for McDonald’s. In the spirit of the ad, sharing some of those benefits may not be a bad thing. But as Burger King is the one that paid for the advertisement, it seems like the goal may have been for them to receive a bit more of the positive attention for it. Overall, the campaign certainly wasn’t a flop. But there does seem to be a bit of a halo effect for McDonald’s, which was mentioned right at the top of the ad along with Burger King. So for companies that want to go a similar route for ad campaigns, it may be beneficial to really set your brand apart from the one you’re speaking to or positioning yourself against, unless you want them to receive some residual positive effects from your advertising dollars.
Results were collected on July 13 via AYTM’s online survey panel.