Wednesday, September 2

A Burger for Peace

I learned in grad school at Columbia to always look at both sides. I had a professor who drilled that into us - we'd voice an opinion about a marketing issue and he'd immediately ask us to argue for the other side.

Ever since then I've always been able to see both sides of any given argument. It's a gift that he taught me.

So when Burger King issued a "challenge" to McDonald's to join them for the International Day of Peace and to put aside the burger wars for a moment, I totally got it. I actually thought it was quite brilliant. The brand threw the concept to McDonald's out there on social media, took a risk, and then waited patiently for some sort of a response.

They offered up a "McWhopper" of an idea.

I totally got where they were coming from.

But they didn't get the response that they were hoping for. It's all been over-analyzed and debated to death by now, but it's actually pretty simple.

Basically, McDonald's dismissed them. They dismissed the idea, put it into context of real war, and poked them for using social media as a vehicle to engage.

While my first reaction was a cringe, I also got where they were coming from.

I saw both sides of the equation.

Are the burger wars at all on par with world peace? NO.

Could Burger King have just made a personal, private appeal to McDonald's to make a ground-breaking collaboration? YES.

Did McDonald's use the situation to put Burger King in its place? YES.

In the end, where do I net out? Being able to see both sides means being able to have an objective opinion.

I think it was pretty clever of Burger King. They understand their context when compared to actual war and world peace. They weren't exaggerating their importance, at least not in IMHO.

Do we live in a social world? YES.

Do we respond to marketing messages that break through the clutter? YES.

Should we all have just a little sense of humor? YES.

What's your experience?  JIM.

PS - Burger King has since gone on to try to keep the idea alive by collaborating with other restaurant chains to try to make a "Peace Burger" in a pop-up store for one day. We shall see where this all lands.