To Introduce Big King in Brazil, Burger King ‘Flame-Grills’ Big Mac Superfans

David São Paulo converts, tattoos McD's devotees

How to convince fast-food diners that Burger King's Big King burger is a superior option to the iconic McDonald's Big Mac? Invite Golden Arches superfans to Brazil, feed them the new competition, and then brand them with tattoos.

That's what the São Paulo agency David did to highlight the debut of the new offering, permanently added to U.S. menus in 2013 but introduced in Brazil last week.

In a funny and unexpected YouTube video and accompanying social-media campaign, David and its partners—production company Crane.TV and one-named director Vandalo—tracked down five Big Mac lovers so devoted to those two all-beef patties that they each bore Big Mac tattoos. The five were lured to Brazil with the promise of an unspecified Burger King taste test.

As five cameras rolled, they tried the Big King, loved it, and then were introduced to celebrity tattoo artist Ami James, of Miami Ink, who offered to add flame-broiled grill marks to their Big Mac tattoos. Four took him up on the offer.

"The original idea came from an insight we had searching the Internet, when we realized there was this trend of people posting pictures of their Big Mac tattoos," Rodrigo Grau, creative vp at David São Paulo, told Adweek by email. "We sensed that it was a great opportunity to challenge these people to try the Big King."

In the video, we watch the five global Mickey D's habitués—from Taiwan, Italy, Brazil, the U.S. and Spain—show off their tattoos and then receive mysterious invitations from Burger King. They fly to Brazil, where they taste the new sandwich and love it. "That's flame-grilled right there," says the American admiringly, and sounding suspiciously like a pitchman. But Grau insists all the tasters, and their reactions, are authentic.

"Our assumption from the very beginning of this project was that all the participants should be real people, as we needed to challenge their passion—which wouldn't have worked with actors," said Grau. "Until we finished filming, we couldn't predict what would happen. One of the possibilities was ending up with none of the five participants willing to change their tattoos."

(The only one who didn't was the American flame-grilling enthusiast; he and his brother sport matching tattoos, and, as he tells James apologetically, he wouldn't change it "for anything in the world.")

Since the video's launch last Thursday, it has garnered 10 million views and thousands of social-media shares, Grau said. In-store activations begin this week, centered on the idea of people being tattooed. "Change always leaves a mark," is the tagline.

"Leaving old habits behind can sometimes bring us pleasant surprised in life, and that's what we wanted to convey in this Big King campaign," Ariel Grunkraut, marketing director for Burger King in Brazil, said in a statement. "We found out that people are indeed open to change, and they often find that it can bring both something positive and surprising."


Agency: DAVID São Paulo
Client: Burger King Brasil
Creative VP: Rodrigo Grau
Creative Director: Edgard Gianesi
Art Directors: Diego Barboza, Jean Zamprogno, Bruno Luglio
Copywriters: João Gandara, Fernando Pellizzaro, Ivan Guerra
Executive Producer: Mariane Goebel
Producer: Renata Neumann
Head of Planning: Fernando Ribeiro
Planning Director: Luiz Arruda
Planning Supervisor: André Gonçalves
Account Director: Carol Vieira
Account Supervisor: Natalia Rakowitsch
Account Executive: Natalie Bursztyn
Account Assistant: Fernanda Feldmann

SVP Global Brand Management: Fernando Machado
Marketing Director: Ariel Grunkraut
Marketing Manager: Kellen Silverio
Marketing Coordinator: Thais Nascimento
Marketing Analyst: Lariane Duarte

Production Company: Crane.TV
Executive Producer: Constantin Bjerke

Director: Vandalo
Director of Photography: Daniel Venosa
Head of Brand Solutions:  Pernille Raven
Producer: Julieta Biasotti
International Account Manager: Cecilia Temke
Editorial and Online: Cutu Benedict
Producer São Paulo: Juliana Pacheco
Producer Milano: Iacopo Carapelli
Producer Madrid: Beatriz Collado

Producer Taiwan: Lucie Wang
Producer Brasília: Jetro Ositeky
Producer Los Angeles: Felix Reyes
Music and Audio Post: Antfood
Account: Lou Schmidt / Sean McGovern
Audio Producers: Pedro Botsaris / Lou Schmidt / Wilson Brown
Food Stylist: Paula Rainho