Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dumping Friends for the Despot

Whopper Sacrifice SuccessImage by flow14 via FlickrYou have probably already heard of the Burger King's latest ploy to dump sell burgers. The Whopper Sacrifice rules are simple: cast off 10 Facebook friends and get a coupon for a free burger.  The tag lie, I mean tag line, "Friendship is Strong, but the Whopper is Stronger," says something about the company: they don't care about you.

At first I didn't think too much of this campaign, but then I started thinking about it in terms of social media and it started to bug me a bit. As just an ad campaign to sell burger I think it may be a pretty good hit for the burger chain. But here's what bothers me; they will likely try to call this some sort of social media integrated campaign by virtue of its call to action running through Facebook.

Anti-Social Media
To me, this is the antithesis of social media as a branding effort. Why? Because it tells you that your friends don't matter as much as their mass-produced burger.  

Translation: Burger King says, "people don't matter, it's about the sell. "

But they are giving a coupon for free burger, not selling anything. That's true, but they know you will probably also get fries and a drink, so there is a cost involved. (Disclaimer: I don't like the BK Whopper as a fast-food burger option, so we can move passed that for the purposes of this post.)

They just don't get it, we should be lauding efforts that build community, not those that try to tear it down.

But they are just trying to be funny and build awareness for their target audience just like their faux king character. That's also true, but maybe they should spend less time on faking their way through a adver-social campaign and more time on improving on the taste of their food instead of peddling garbage to the peons.

Am I taking this too seriously? Should we be bothered by or bitter about this strange BK campaign? Should we take action against this campaign or embrace it as a creative use of the interwebs? Maybe I'm being too hard on BK, I mean afterall it couldn't be worse than the Whopper Virgins failure of a campaign.  

Maybe the king should just get an "E" for effort and an incomplete for understanding community.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]