Anyone with more than one child has taken that car trip where the younger sibling has goaded their older sibling into raging out and striking in a manner that gets the older sibling into trouble. It’s a classic move. The younger acts like the “little sh!t” they know how to be, but the older reacts poorly and takes the whole blame.
Restaurant wars imitate life, I guess, because this week, Burger King put McDonald’s in a no-win situation, and McDonald’s totally took the bait.
For those of you not paying attention, Burger King “extended an olive branch” over social media to McDonald’s, suggesting the two burger chains combine the might of the McDonald’s Big Mac and the Burger King Whopper to create a “McWhopper” to sell on National Peace Day, with all proceeds raised being donated to Peace One Day charity.
Well-intentioned and innocent enough, right?
Well, anyone in business knows this isn’t how great things get done. If Burger King was serious in their “peace mission,” a professional and private outreach would be the way to go about it. What Burger King knew is that if they put it on social media, McDonald’s would react exactly as they did. CEO of the Golden Arches, Steve Easterbrook, posted a chastising message on the McDonald’s Facebook and Twitter that totally enraged the internet at large. The passive-aggressive post created exactly what Burger King hoped for, and all of a sudden it felt like the “Billions” were serving McDonald’s back.
McDonald’s has long been losing the millennial battle, with fewer and fewer of the younger generation consuming the chain’s food. Due to this financial slump, and the chain’s inability to adapt, for the first time in years, McDonald’s stopped making their earnings reports public. This social gaffe is just another example of the chain not quite understanding the modern era’s digital landscape. I mean, there were so many better ways McDonalds could have responded, but the chain whipped out their “Dad Voice” and totally blew it.
In the end, Burger King did raise awareness for National Peace Day, so in affect, they did do something good. The amount of free earned media the chain garnered has been worth every penny it invested in this rouse. From a marketing standpoint, it was pure, evil genius. The quality of content the second-tier burger chain created around the McWhopper is also top notch (Make sure to navigate around the McWhopper website). And for those of you that really want this abomination of greasy chain burger to be born, here’s your DIY tutorial.