The Whopper gets big on Social

18 Nov,2014


By Pradyuman Maheshwari


Global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants Burger King (BK) opened its first outlet in New Delhi earlier this month (Nov 9) with plans to set up more across the country soon. In fact the Mumbai outlet at the Oberoi Mall in Goregaon is scheduled for the next weekend (Nov 22-23). Every day, more than 11 million guests visit across 13,000 Burger King restaurants worldwide. As it enters the country in a socially hyperactive environment, Burger King took the digital route to announce its entry and Made-in-India menu. A quick interaction with CMO Uma Talreja on the marketing plans of restaurant chain.


Could you share with us your broad marketing message in the light of the fact that there are many offerings available and with some large international players already quite well-placed?

Burger King is synonymous with taste and quality across the world. The menu for India is specially designed based on indepth research carried out with consumers across the country. The marketing strategy is focused on creating awareness for the differentiated platforms on which our menu has been built. We have created new platforms and concepts for Indian guests which will be new experiences. We recently launched the Whopper for India in three new variants – veg, chicken and mutton. Our guests will also be served different burgers and cravers under a new platform called The King’s Melt which has a cheese infusion in every patty so that u have a ‘melt in your mouth’ experience. This again is available in three different variants. The other important part of our strategy is to deliver an equally delightful experience for vegetarians. Our vegetarian guests will have a unique patty in every burger and can choose between bean, paneer, cheese, vegetables, the Veg Whopper and even more. Our intent is to offer a very good and wide choice to every consumer who comes to our restaurants. And we have done this through quality products and unique recipes with 100% vegetables, chicken and mutton that deliver the wholesome taste in every bite.


You’ve had an interesting social media execution which possibly only a Taco Bell may have had among the international QSR majors. In terms of marketing spends, could you share what your spend pie is like. So TV, Radio, Outdoor, Print and Digital Display and Social. Also, any other BTL?

The way we plan our marketing media is by selecting the right medium to deliver the message in the most effective manner. We found 4 lakh Facebook accounts in India that liked Burger King from their experiences internationally. This showed us that our guests were online and we started our plans with an online effort. We haven’t split our marketing plan by spends but by objectives. We have a set of audience who know Burger King but not what’s new in India, and we have a set of audience who don’t know Burger King at all. Our media mix is designed to address the target group and not governed by a split on spends. It will also vary by every location that we open depending on how the equity of the brand evolves and the customer base growth.


We hear that the social media acquisition has been quite effective. Do tell us more. Also, what’s about the booking your burger on eBay?

So far I can say we are encouraged by the response. Our engagement on social media is high. Our fans show active interest and response in our communication to them. And we have had very good support from our fans in building awareness for us to other consumers and the audience at large. We are definitely going to keep that effort on to engage our audience and grow our base.


We offered a pre-launch booking of the Whoppers on eBay India and had planned a 3-day promotion to guests who would like to prebook the Whopper  for the opening day of our debut restaurant at Select CityWalk, Saket, New Delhi. It has been tremendously encouraging as we sold 1200 Whoppers in 36 hours itself. It has been a very fruitful association and gave us a good indication of what we could have expected for our launch.


There are some who have been exposed to Burger King outlets internationally and they will miss the beef Whoppers, as is evident from the comments on your Facebook page. While I am sure others like McDonald’s also face this, but given that you are entering in an era when there is interactivity with the consumer, how are you addressing these comments?

We encourage all guests to try our Indian menu as it has very good variety. We look forward to feedback of all guests to our menu and hope that we will satisfy our every consumer’s taste buds. Our menu has been tested through a structured research with 3000 respondents and with successful outcomes. We are hopeful to see a similar response in our restaurants as well.


Do we see Burger King go on television in a big way now or only once you have a national footprint?

These are early days. It depends on how the brand performs and what the business needs as we grow.


How much are your team and you  personally at BK hands-on on the social media?

There is never a dull moment and we work on this all the time between the marketing team and all agency partners. Everyone is closely involved at this stage including our management. It is an extremely passionate team who are striving hard to deliver best results.


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