‘Dollar Holidays’ at Burger King

Burger King thinks it has the perfect solution for those who are cutting down on gift-giving this year.

The fast-food chain this week kicked off its “Dollar Holidays” e-card promotion. The effort, which is being handled by BK’s lead agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and PR firm Edelman, allows consumers to send a holiday card containing a real dollar bill to those who are at the bottom of their gift list. As BK puts it on its Web site: “Casual friends don’t deserve second-rate gifts.”

There are 20 e-cards in the collection, and each costs $1 to send. Senders can decide on the tone and type of card. A “casual friend,” for instance, would receive a card that says, “I think you’re special, though I have no evidence to back that up,” while a “virtual stranger” would receive something like, “Happy Holidays, What’s-Your-Face.”

A TV spot now airing follows the same cheeky theme. It shows a man handing out BK gift cards to his “creepy neighbor,” “Mr. and Mrs. What’s-Your-Face,” a “failed fitness guru” and that “guy [he] played squash with, once.” The spot concludes with the phrase: “In times like these, everyone deserves a quarter pound of beef for a buck.”

More than 8,000 of the gift cards were sold on the program’s first day, BK said. The fast feeder is pushing the promotion as a way to drive burger sales, while touting cheap gift ideas.

The move is also part of BK’s strategy to promote its Double Cheeseburger. In October, the price of the burger was reduced to $1 to entice cash-strapped consumers. BK’s Q1 fiscal 2010 earnings were down 6.4 percent, when the chain last reported in October. It’s also shelled out $200 million on U.S. measured media through September of this year, per Nielsen.

Darren Tristano, evp at market research firm Technomic, which tracks the fast-food industry, said the campaign helps reinforce the chain’s value message. “They’ve been very competitive with McDonald’s and this is a way for them to differentiate their strategy,” he said of BK’s approach. The catch, however, is that “you still need a little more than a dollar to purchase [a Double Cheeseburger].”

See also:

“BK Chief Marketer Russ Klein Departs”

“BK, Crispin Dish on ‘The King'”

“Double Whooper — BK Spots Court Controversy”

Nielsen Business Media