On Wednesday, Burger King announced on Facebook and Twitter that it is changing its name to Fries King in a "rebrand" that pretty much everyone knows is nothing more than a short-term marketing stunt.
The "rebrand" has been met with a collective eye-roll from savvy consumers who remember Pizza Hut's 2008 "name change" to Pasta Hut, and confusion from those who think the 60-year-old chain is actually changing its name.
So Burger King is now called Fries King? Wth. Why would they change their name??
— Maryam. (@Maarryaaam) October 4, 2013
But while the campaign, from advertising agency Mother New York, is drawing a mostly negative response from the public, people are at least talking about Burger King and its new "satisfries," which the company says have 30% fewer calories than their old french fries.
According to the social analytics firm Topsy, Twitter mentions of Burger King almost tripled Wednesday when it announced its "name change" and published photos of its Fries King design replacing its old logo at one of its locations.
Matti Leshem, founder and CEO of the marketing strategy agency Protagonist, said the promotion was "silly," but could help Burger King in the long run if the new fries actually deliver on being better tasting and more healthy than what Burger King's competitors are offering.
"They're trying to raise awareness for their new less-fat fries, so they've probably been able to do that," Leshem said. "I think it serves a purpose, but it's certainly not the most brilliant promotion I've ever seen."
Erich Joachimsthaler, CEO and founder of the strategy consulting firm Vivaldi Partners Group, was less measured in his critique.
Joachimsthaler said that Burger King was making a mistake by targeting Millennials on social media instead of its traditional consumer base of families and children, and that the company failed to think about how the "Fries King" promotion fit until its overall narrative as a brand.
To him, "Fries King" is an example of a company doing creative work for the sake of doing something creative, without thinking about how it will lead to increased sales.
"Burger King looks like a brand that is circling around trying to find its place in the business with consumers," Joachimsthaler said. "They are in Advertising La-La Land. It's not about creativity awards, it's not about social media campaigns, it's really about making a promise to consumers."
What Burger King does from here is anybody's guess, but at the very least, they certainly have people talking.
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