Whopper Virgins

The campaign that I have chosen to view for this project is the Whopper Virgins campaign from Burger King in 2008. The goal of this campaign was to increase the sales and to move Burger King up to the position of top fast food industry. McDonalds held the position at the time.
In this campaign and ad, a film crew traveled to Romania, Transylvania, as well as remote areas of Greenland and China. Once there, the crew would film volunteers at a table. They would then set a Whopper and a Big Mac in front of the volunteers and ask them to try both and tell them which one they thought tasted better. From what Burger King had shown in the commercials, more of these “Whopper Virgins” preferred the Whopper to the Big Mac. It is also a good thing to note that these people had never had any kind of hamburger in their lives.
The results of the commercial increased Burger King’s sales significantly. The only other campaign of theirs that had had as much success as the Whopper Virgins campaign was the No Whopper campaign where participating Burger Kings filmed customers reactions when they told them that Burger King didn’t sell Whoppers anymore. I couldn’t find any information on whether Burger King had beaten out McDonalds for the quarter however.
The Whopper Virgins Campaign created a lot of controversy. There were many claims that Burger King was taking advantage of poverty stricken areas around the world. People claimed that the people in the video were people that were from places where people were starving and the people in these places would never be able to afford a Whopper of a Big Mac. Burger King silenced these claims by saying that the places they had gone to film for these campaigns were not poverty stricken areas, and that they respected the wishes of the people in the villages. They also claimed that they worked with the chiefs of the villages and the authoritative figures of the tribes to make sure that they would not be breaking any laws.
I believe that the type of campaign that the Whopper Virgins campaign is would be an indoctrination campaign. The reason that I believe this is that the entire point of the campaign and ads was to get people to believe that Burger King is better than McDonalds. This ad is definitely controversial and a form of propaganda. The official results of the findings in their campaign were never released, and for all we know the majority of people actually liked the Big Mac best, but even if that were the case, Burger King is only going to show you enough to make you think that the Whopper is the more liked sandwich of the two.
The stage that I think the commercial/documentary I chose is in is the promotion stage. This is because the ad does exactly what our reading in for chapter 10 said a promotion does. It not only opens minds by showing that Burger King is wanting to broaden the horizon of people who have never tried a greasy, artery clogging burger, but it is also saying that these people who have never had a burger before claim that their burger is better than McDonald’s Big Mac. Another interesting note is that the commercial that had actually aired on television didn’t show the results of the campaign. To get these results and see this full commercial, one would have to get on Burger King’s website and actually look it up. This added a sense of mystery, and once people found out that the “Whopper Virgins” had decided that the Whopper was better, some may think that this is a good reason to go out and purchase a Whopper.
For the reasons stated above, I think that this ad was very effective. The Whopper Virgin Campaign did exactly what Burger King wanted it to do. It got people intrigued about the Whopper, it compared the Whopper and Big Mac on an “equal ground” when doing their survey, and most importantly, it increased Burger King’s sales in the following quarter. On top of all of this, Burger King didn’t even have to release a new product to get their sales to increase. Burger King knew exactly what it was doing with this campaign, and because of it they were very successful.

-Travis Wyss

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