After Trolling McDonald’s, Burger King’s App Was Downloaded 1 Million Times and Hit No. 1

And today BK is needling its rival again

Burger King's app soared to No. 1 on Apple's App Store after the launch of 'Whopper Detour.' Photo illustration: Dianna McDougall; Images via Burger King and Apple App Store
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Sometimes, trolling pays.

Burger King got national attention this week for offering 1-cent Whoppers to those who drove up to a McDonald’s location (and then, presumably, drove away to redeem their BK coupons). Key to the stunt was the brand’s smartphone app, which unlocked the offer when it detected users approaching within 600 feet of a McDonald’s.

“Whopper Detour” may have seemed like an odd move—Who actively sends customers to a rival’s doorstep?—but it also worked, in terms of both publicity and app downloads.

Burger King today said its app was downloaded more than 1 million times since Whopper Detour launched on Tuesday, and the app is currently No. 1 among free software in the Apple App Store. That puts Burger King’s app, for now at least, above app giants like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Amazon.

(The McDonald’s app, in case you’re curious, is currently at No. 42.)

Here’s a look back at how Whopper Detour, created with the brand’s new agency partner, FCB New York, works:

The stunt was a publicity juggernaut for Burger King, with Whopper Detour being featured by just about every major publication and news network.

Burger King Global CMO Fernando Machado told CNN the app now has a total of about 6 million downloads, with about 1 million of those coming in the 36 hours after Whopper Detour launched. “We thought it would be tongue-in-cheek fun and engaging, and we brought it to life,” he told the network in the clip below. “It’s actually going better than my most optimistic dream.”

Meanwhile, Burger King continues giving its nemesis a hard time today. In announcing its new $6 King Box combo deal, Burger King also took out a billboard (created by agency David Miami) next to a McDonald’s location in Chicago.

The ad displays the “actual size” of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder With Cheese meal, which of course looks like a mere speck on the outdoor board below.

Burger King

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@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
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