Brand of the Day: Burger King Finds 15 Ways to Handle the Same Hurt Feelings on Twitter

@replies that count

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While some of Burger King's Twitter followers are still moaning about the proposed merger with Tim Hortons, many more would rather talk about bacon or ice cream—or what on earth happened to Chicken Fries.

And BK is there with a soothing @reply. Actually, 15 of them.

A playful marketer going back to its celebrated work a decade ago with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, BK always likes to spice things up. And adding limited-time items like Chicken Fries to the menu gives the brand a reason to load up on social. But take them away, and Twitter wants to know why. Luckily, BK knows just how to explain it.

Social Media Profile (as of 9/24/14)

Facebook Likes: 7.3 million

Twitter Followers: 819,811

Instagram Followers: 78,338

Responding smartly to complaints—serious or not—in social is a useful, underrated skill. Many marketers still copy and paste boilerplate, but a glance at BK's Twitter feed shows how personalized it is.

Yes, the replies to the Chicken Fries outage are all variations on a theme. But the brand whipped up at least 15 different responses, many of them slyly comical. This kind of one-on-one customer service is time consuming, but for a brand that wants to be truly conversational online, it's no longer optional.

Recent Advertising

In an interesting move recently, the brand brought back a 2006 Chicken Fries TV spot created by CP+B and aired it on Thursdays with the hashtag #TBT.

The CMO's Philosophy

"Don't be chained to the historical, conventional rules of an industry. To be effective, a marketing strategy needs to be disruptive and adaptive. Creativity is a business tool," says chief marketing officer Eric Hirschhorn.  

Fast Facts

• In 1953, the chain was founded in Jacksonville, Fla., as Insta-Burger King. The "Insta-" moniker came from the machines used to cook the burgers, the Insta-Broilers. It was dropped in 1959 when the chain restructured.

• In 1967—with 274 locations and roughly 8,000 employees—Burger King was acquired by the Pillsbury Corporation. Since then, BK has been a subsidiary of a number of corporations, including Grand Metropolitan, a few private equity firms (Bain Capital among them) and finally 3G. As a result of the 3G acquisition, in 2010 Burger King was spun out and became a privately held company again.

• The iconic "Have It Your Way" campaign debuted in 1974.

• The company debuted the Pride Whopper in June, and this month launched the Kuro Burger and Kuro Diamond Burger in Japan.

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Top photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr Creative Commons

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.