Daily Insights

Burger King Takes a Jab at the Java King

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Mar 22, 2019

The fast food restaurant just introduced an affordable alternative to Starbucks. For $5 a month, customers can get a small cup of coffee every day—the cost of a single venti cappuccino. The subscription is only available by downloading the BK app and opening it daily to redeem the free coffee, and we think the new promotion might be exactly the perk Burger King needs to make a splash.

Burger King is no stranger to capitalizing on beef with its rivals. The restaurant had its mascot dress like KFC’s “The Colonel” in an ad to promote its new grilled chicken sandwich, hijacked McDonald’s Big Mac 50th anniversary, and egged customers on in an AR-enhanced ad-burning campaign against any and all its rivals. Its latest initiative takes direct aim not just at fast food frenemies, but at certified coffee connoisseur Starbucks, which recently announced plans to debut a new and improved rewards program that’s chock-full of point-based perks.

Starbucks boasts one of the highest loyalty email open rates out of all brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants, so following a similar marketing recipe of perks and coffee makes sense for Burger King. Additionally, by luring customers in with a free cup of joe, Burger King also opens up the possibility for them to pick up another item to go with their coffee while they’re at it.

When it comes to getting noticed, Burger King is fire. In addition to earning the highest organic visibility against quick-service restaurant keywords, the eatery often uses seasonal promotions and product launches to generate buzz and user posts on social media. The new campaign also comes with a bold and shareable aspect: a tongue-in-cheek mini documentary that portrays the origins and making of BK coffee headed by Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Chef’s Table director David Gelb. The documentary, which has garnered just over 6,000 views since its premiere on YouTube on March 7th, is currently a far cry from Burger King’s most popular, one-million-and-up videos, but it does seem to be building up buzz based on the curious comments left underneath.

Though it’s tough to say if Burger King’s fiery campaign can actually roast the coffee king, it is certainly a bold move. In terms of making a profit, the promotion might actually be a flop. But when it comes to brewing up buzz, the tactic could be a real whopper.