WEATHER AUTHORITY : Flash Flood Warning View Alerts

Burger King trolls McDonald's with 1 cent burger promotion

Burger King wants people to download its app. So it's sending them to McDonald's for access to a one-cent Wh...

Posted: Dec 6, 2018 12:25 AM
Updated: Dec 6, 2018 12:25 AM

Burger King wants people to download its app. So it's sending them to McDonald's for access to a one-cent Whopper.

Here's how it works: If you're within 600-feet of a McDonald's you can unlock a deal for a penny Whopper using the Burger King app. The app then offers directions to a nearby participating Burger King, where you can pick up the burger. The company announced the deal on Tuesday. It runs through December 12, and customers can only access it once.

Burger King Worldwide Inc

Companies

McDonald's Corp

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Fast food

Food and beverage industry

Food and drink

Restaurant and food service industry

Restaurant industry

Restaurants

Computer science and information technology

Mobile apps

Mobile technology

Software and applications

Technology

Company activities and management

Sales and selling

Sales figures

Burger King's not the only fast food chain trying out creative ways to get people to download its mobile app. McDonald's recently ran a $1 fries promotion through its app, and Wendy's often offers deals through its app as well. Through digital platforms, fast food chains can learn more about consumer tastes and offer personalized promotions.

Fast food chains use stunts to get customers to pay attention, and vie for their business. Fast food eaters aren't particularly loyal to one brand over another, BTIG analyst Peter Saleh told CNN Business this summer.

For Burger King, its particularly important to win back customers.

The burger chain only recently announced plans to upgrade its stores to include digital menu boards and self-order kiosks — changes that its rivals have already put into place, helping increase sales.

Burger King's US comparable sales slipped by 0.7% in the third quarter. Meanwhile, same-store US sales rose by 2.4% in the third quarter at McDonald's.

Still, Burger King's cheeky approach is "pretty innovative," noted Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy. And so far, it's been a huge success.

More than 50,000 people have redeemed the deal so far, Burger King's Global Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado told CNN Business. That's about 20 times more redemptions than for any other Burger King app promotion, he estimated.

The promotion also boosted the app from ninth to first place in the iTunes App Store's food and drink category, he said.

To pull the Whopper Detour off, Burger King geofenced more than 14,000 US McDonald's locations. Machado said that it took about a year to pull the promotion together. "We want the functionality to be working really well," he said. "Or else it backfires."

Some people have complained about glitches on Twitter. Machado's not too worried about that.

"Sometimes someone has a poor connection, or maybe one specific restaurant out of 14,000 may not have been geolocated properly or somebody tried to redeem the coupon during breakfast," Machado said. But he noted that the difficulties have been the "exception."

The fast food brand has a history of flashy stunts. In January, the chain released an ad criticizing the Trump administration's decision to repeal net neutrality rules. The three-minute ad shows a "social experiment" in which a Burger King store implements a Whopper "fast lane."

It also released a video showing employees charging female customers a "chick tax" on chicken fries in pink packaging for a stunt designed to call attention to the so-called pink tax on women's products.

To promote the Whopper Detour, Burger King published a video showing customers ordering Whoppers from confused McDonald's employees.

Machado doesn't recommend that people go through McDonald's drive-thrus to redeem their burgers.

"We don't want to disrupt," he said, noting that one of the reasons the chain settled on a 600-foot radius was to make sure people didn't have to use the drive-thru to access the promotion.

Burger King's strategy is a bit risky, Hottovy noted. Not only does the tech have to work well, but once Burger King has driven customers to McDonald's, they may just order food from McDonald's.

"Convenience is really what consumer are looking for," he noted. That "may even trump free food giveaways."

Burger King didn't let McDonald's know what was coming. "We forgot to tell them," Machado said, adding that McDonald's hasn't reached out, but that he hopes the rival sees the stunt as just a bit of fun.

McDonald's did not respond to a request for comment.

It's not unusual for fast food rivals to go after McDonald's (MCD) in their marketing, Hottovy said. "McDonald's is the largest player in this category," he noted. That puts "a target on their back."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31257

Reported Deaths: 1114
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds253640
DeSoto162016
Madison131434
Jones112849
Neshoba99271
Rankin95112
Harrison93311
Lauderdale91079
Forrest87842
Scott77315
Jackson63816
Copiah60715
Washington5919
Leake57819
Holmes55741
Lee55219
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51618
Yazoo5136
Lowndes49413
Leflore49151
Grenada4905
Lincoln46634
Lamar4657
Pike44112
Monroe40330
Sunflower4008
Lafayette3934
Attala36123
Covington3595
Panola3526
Bolivar34014
Newton3399
Simpson3233
Adams31318
Pontotoc2926
Tate28810
Marion28411
Chickasaw27918
Claiborne27910
Noxubee2678
Winston2666
Jasper2636
Pearl River25732
Clay25111
Marshall2343
Smith21811
Union2109
Clarke20724
Walthall2045
Coahoma2016
Kemper17914
Lawrence1782
Yalobusha1737
Carroll16611
Humphreys1509
Tallahatchie1374
Itawamba1368
Montgomery1352
Calhoun1324
Tippah13111
Hancock13013
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1124
Jefferson1083
Prentiss1083
Greene1058
Tunica1053
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George893
Tishomingo831
Quitman780
Choctaw744
Alcorn712
Perry674
Stone651
Franklin452
Benton380
Sharkey380
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5410152
Montgomery4158103
Mobile4129134
Tuscaloosa232142
Marshall172410
Madison14917
Lee141137
Shelby133423
Morgan11215
Walker97824
Elmore94314
Franklin89814
Baldwin8949
Dallas8919
Etowah75013
DeKalb7375
Chambers64227
Butler63428
Autauga61012
Tallapoosa60569
Russell5650
Houston5074
Unassigned50323
Limestone5010
Lauderdale4966
Lowndes47221
Cullman4594
Pike4375
Colbert4086
St. Clair4022
Escambia3966
Coffee3812
Calhoun3765
Covington3707
Bullock36910
Barbour3532
Talladega3177
Hale31421
Marengo31211
Dale2990
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Jackson2842
Clarke2776
Winston2633
Chilton2522
Blount2431
Monroe2392
Pickens2366
Marion23313
Conecuh2107
Randolph2099
Macon1999
Choctaw19512
Bibb1941
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1117
Lawrence1100
Cherokee1027
Geneva830
Lamar781
Fayette711
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne381
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 81°
Columbus
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 78°
Starkville
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather