BK Takes Choice Message To Kids

APL Spot Eschews Free Gifts, Plays on Youngsters’ Desire for Control
NEW YORK–Burger King uses the idea of freedom of choice, not toys, to woo kids in a new spot from Ammirati Puris Lintas.
The chain is hoping kids’ desire for more control in their lives will lure them to burgers made to order, BK’s core equity, and (for now) the differentiating factor between it and rival McDonald’s.
Andy Bonaparte, director of advertising for BK, said the spot marks the first time that “choice” has been leveraged to attract kids, who have typically been targeted with offers of plastic trinkets.
Breaking July 6 is a 30-second spot laden with sight gags that encourages kids to decide what to eat for themselves. As a boy stands in his room, flashing images show him in a giant cage, running in a hamster wheel and about to eat a handful of pellets. A boy’s voiceover says, “If you were a hamster, you’d live in a cage. You’d play on a wheel. Hamsters don’t have a choice.” But kids can choose their own food, the ad continues, reminding them, “You can get what you want at Burger King.” The spot concludes with a new tagline, “Taste rules,” and the BK Kids Club logo. The existing Kids Club tag, “Great food. Cool stuff. Kids only,” will run concurrently.
The new spot targets kids aged 4 to early teens. That audience has a strong allegiance to McDonald’s from years of Happy Meal consumption. The No. 2 fast-food chain wants to give these kids a “sense of empowerment,” said Cindy Syracuse, the chain’s advertising manager.
BK’s ad salvo comes in advance of McDonald’s expected rollout next year of its own made-to-order preparation system, aimed at improving overall food taste and quality. It will also enable patrons to customize their burgers.
BK next week will also break a spot with a promotional tie-in to Small Soldiers. It will feature computer-generated and live-action visuals. Both ads will run on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons.
BK spent $425 million on advertising in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Sales in the U.S. reached $7.9 billion in 1997, behind McDonald’s at $17.1 billion.