Last week, The Cannes Lions Festival held its annual awards ceremony, honouring the most creative and successful marketing campaigns of the past year. It is always a great week to keep an eye on if you have an interest in marketing. And this year, it showed that when even the biggest companies take a risk, it can really pay off. One of the biggest winners for 2019 was the almighty Burger King. Stepping up its smear campaign against McDonalds with a light-hearted twist saw the company scoop a whopping (don’t excuse the pun) three Grand Prix prizes. The King of campaigns was this year offering customers their most popular burger for just a penny. But only if you ordered it from a McDonalds. Carrying on its ongoing anti-McBurger campaign, the new Whopper Detour App offered customers an almost free burger when ordered within 600m of a Ronald McDonald establishment. The app would then direct you to your nearest Burger King to pick up your 1 penny Whopper.

The award-winning campaign highlighted the importance of mobile when advertising. Linking the new mobile food order culture, as well as the age of gaming and the joy and shock that comes with bending the rules of sportsmanship, the Whopper Detour app was a mixture of creativity, cunning and comedy. It is not the first time this year that Burger king has used McDonalds’ extensive advertising budget for its own gain. Flame-grilling has always been Burger King's signature cooking technique since opening in 1954, and in March this year, the burger chain used virtual flames to "burn" its biggest competitors. While it didn’t specify McDonald's by name, the pixelated imagery of billboards and print ads suggest that the app campaign was directly targeting the key rival.

Admittedly, many of us may not have the budget or brand significance for the publicity that these ad stunts have created. But we can take a leaf out of the burger giant’s campaign book. Burger King stays at the top of the awards list because they look forward. With this flux of new technologies, using mobile apps and AR is a sure-fire way to get strong engagement from your target audience. You may not be in the same industry, but the rules still apply. Always keep on eye on the horizon and have fun with your campaigns.


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