An NFL partnership last football season was just what Burger King (BK) cooked up to promote a limited time only burger and fries offering. The fast food purveyor wanted to take a bite out of the National Football League’s popularity to grow sales of its special month-long offer of an Angus ‘Shroom and Steak Burger and its chicken fries.
“We wanted to have a promotion that would fit our brand,” says Brian Gies, VP-marketing at BK. “So we looked to the NFL to deliver the connectivity between family and friends over football and food; that was the brand component.”
The thought was that the NFL’s assets had not been appropriately leveraged for fast food franchises “so we were excited about what we could do,” Gies says.
The result was a campaign that first broke to promote the Angus ‘Shroom and Steak Burger last September. During the promotion, consumers who visited BK restaurants and ordered the burger could take codes provided on the wrappers to find out if they won NFL extras at an NFLYourWay.com micro site. Exclusive NFL online footage, ESPN magazine trial subscriptions and Motorola NFL cell phone wallpaper were some of the cool items consumers won. Codes also entered consumers into a sweeps for trips to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl.
To complement the campaign, restaurants were decked out with ceiling danglers and NFL-themed window clings, while packaging carried themed 32 ounce cups, paper bags, and tray liners.
The King mascot was also integrated in NFL Moments in History TV spots and a coupon drop alerted consumers to the promotion.
Finger football tournaments also took place in eight markets to drive consumer awareness of the partnership. Table tents in restaurants served as goals and trayliners, which could be folded into triangles, became footballs. The winner of the tourney received a trip to the Super Bowl.
“We’re always looking to drive traffic to our restaurants, but wanted to deliver an added value proposition which included leveraging the partnership with the NFL,” Gies says.
When the height of the NFL season rolled around in January, BK launched Chicken Fries and another round of promotions to go with it.
Codes on cartons of six-piece, nine-piece and 36-piece party packs of Chicken Fries could be used to win weekly prizes, including Super Bowl packages, Samsung LCD TVs, NFL Madden Xbox 360 games and Super Bowl Greatest Moments DVDs. Consumers sent codes over their cell phone via text messages to enter the sweepstakes.
Additionally, in every kid’s meal during the promotional period, BK placed handheld electronic games some of which were football-themed.
To activate the partnership further, the day before the Super Bowl, BK hosted a Finger Football Challenge in Detroit pitting 24 NFL players and hundreds of consumers against each other. Meanwhile The King posed with fans (the mascot also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live Super Bowl week).
“The NFL is the favorite sport among men and women aged 18-to-34 and 66% percent of adults are NFL fans,” Gies says. “This was a very good intersection for our super target, which is also 18-to-34.”
The results concur
More than 30% of BK’s customers were aware of the partnership and promotion with the NFL. ‘Shroom and Swiss Steak Burger sales exceeded forecasts by 8% during the promotion. For the sweeps linked to its Chicken Fries, entries exceeded the company’s expectation by more than 180%.
- CAMPAIGN: Burger King and the NFL
- CLIENT: Burger King
- PARTNER: The National Football League
- AGENCIES: Equity Marketing Inc.
- Crispin Porter & Bogusky (Adult TV advertising)
- Campbell Mithun (youth TV advertising)
- Wunderman (packaging, POP, and direct mail)
- Edelman (p.r.)
- VML Inc. (online)