Advertising loves itself a trend whose coattails it can ride with the unhinged glee of a sloshed prom date. And while seeing Hot Pockets do the Harlem Shake or IHOP use “on fleek” might dispense physical pain on your premium mediocre sensibilities, this tendency actually does have an added value.
Because once a brand—or two, or three—has invited itself into a hype conversation, that probably means it’s time for everyone to get up and leave. And what’s the hypest topic we’re all on now? Whether Bitcoin’s going to destroy banks and/or make us all rich.
Enter Burger King.
The brand just broke crypto-space with Whoppercoin, a so-called “blockchain loyalty program” where customers in Russia can earn one Whoppercoin for every ruble spent at BK. For every 1,700 Whoppercoins, they’ll score a free burger.
This news should surprise no one who follows the brand closely, for even outside Russia its knack for hijacking the hype train is the stuff of lore: It has 3D-printed prosthetic hands so those in need can eat Whoppers with ease, “invented” gimmicky utensils and (allegedly) a Whopper toothpaste, used pro-gamers to take orders while playing, hijacked Google Home, picked a beef with at least one royal family, and—in perhaps the most literal take on its penchant for showboating—released print ads that feature its own stores on fire.
Whoppercoin is hosted on a blockchain platform called Waves, which lets users swap blockchain tokens of a given value on a peer-to-peer exchange. A dedicated asset page on Waves describes it as “a token for buying burgers in Russian Burger King and for the stock exchange.”
One billion Whoppercoins have been released so far, and accrued currency is stored in a digital wallet until they’re redeemed for a burger. In the meantime, users can trade and transfer the coins like any other cryptocurrency.
Who knows? If you didn’t invest early enough in Bitcoin—or were simply born way too late to enjoy the spoils of tulipomania—this could be your winning horse! People have gotten rich in weirder ways, and the crypto market at large is now worth $160 billion.
“Now the Whopper is not only burger that people in 90 different countries love—it’s an investment tool as well,” gushes Ivan Shestov, Burger King Russia’s head of external communications. “According to the forecasts, cryptocurrency will increase exponentially in value. Eating Whoppers now is a strategy for financial prosperity tomorrow.”
Beginning next month, Burger King Russia will release an app on Apple Store and Google Play, making Whoppercoin that much easier to transfer and share. May the odds be ever in your favor.