How many ads do you think you see each day? 50, 200, 1,000? The exact number is hard to pinpoint, but studies estimate that we see on average 4,000 – 10,000 ads each day. That is a lot of ads. Even though I love advertising, like many of us I’m often on auto-pilot and many of these ads go unnoticed.

So how does a brand cut through all of the noise and get peoples attention? When a brand uses humour and takes risks my attention if often piqued. Last year Burger King won the Cannes Lions Creative Brand of the Year award. Simon Cook, Managing Director, Cannes Lions, said, “The award is designed to recognise the creative risks that individual brands take to distinguish their product in different regions around the world.”

My favourite campaign ‘hack Google Home‘ is an example of one of their risks that paid off. In the ad a Burger King Employee asks Google to tell viewers what a Whopper is. Despite annoying Google, the ad won a Grand Prix in the Direct category and was also one of the most talked-about ads in their history. 

Sometimes their risks divide opinion. Earlier this year Burger King released an ad that showed their Whopper decomposing to highlight their decision to remove artificial colours, flavors and preservatives from their products. Some called the ad brave while others felt that the ad was simply awards bait. 

You may think that these ads were designed to simply make people laugh and to poke fun at MacDonalds, but in an interview with Burger Kings’ global CMO, Fernando Machado, he explains that creativity helps them to hold their own in a very competitive market. For example, McDonald’s marketing budget is four times the size of Burger King’s, so what do Burger King do? They deploy a feature in their app where users could burn McDonalds ads and reveal a voucher for a free Whopper. 

Some of my other favourite Burger King ads that make fun of their underdog status include: 

McWhopper – to promote World Peace Day Burger King took out an ad in the NY Times offering an olive branch to McDonalds and asked them to collaborate with them to create the world’s best burger – the McWhooper. The campaign didn’t manage to convince MacDonalds, but it was incredibly successful in generating media exposure. 

Real Meals – Burger King launched a set of Real Meals to poke fun at McDonalds and promote for a range of moods (including the pissed meal) to promote mental health awareness month.

If you’d like to see some more ads by Burger King, The Drum has rounded up the best Burger King ads and the full interview with Burger King’s CMO can be found on Marketing Week. 

Statistics from Forbes

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