Burger King’s New Trolling Ploy Sends Fans to McDonald’s to Unlock a 1-Cent Whopper Deal

Whopper Detour gets catty with geotargeting

Driving up to a McDonald's location unlocks a one-cent Whopper deal via Burger King's mobile app. Burger King

Any lucid American knows the place to get a Whopper is Burger King.

But as of Tuesday morning, the fast food chain is back to gleefully trolling McDonald’s with a new Whopper Detour campaign that sends customers to its arch-rival’s locations to collect a steep discount on BK’s own iconic burgers.

From Dec. 4 to 12, the Burger King smartphone app will let anyone within 600 feet of one of 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants around the country order a Whopper for a single cent (as opposed to the $4 to $5 it might run at full price, depending on location), so long as they’re willing to trek to the nearest participating Burger King afterwards to pick up the actual sandwich.

A new video promotes the stunt, created by new agency partner FCB New York, with footage of customers baffling the drive-through clerks at McDonald’s, rolling up like boneheads and insistently ordering Whoppers. The clip should be taken with a tiny disposable paper packet of salt, but it’s an amusing if equally absurd way to get a devious point across, roping in its competitors employees to help.

It’s also the kind of clever, irreverent advertising that calls to mind past favorites from brand, like the Cannes Grand Prix-winning McWhopper stunt from a couple years back, which saw Burger King invite McDonald’s to create a Whopper-Big Mac mashup for World Peace Day (McDonald’s declined) as well as older hits like Whopper Sacrifice (where it traded Whopper coupons to Facebook users who unfriended 10 people) and Whopper Freakout (another hidden camera number parsing customers’ horrified reactions to the discontinuation of the flagship menu item).

More recently, Burger King in Argentina even declined to sell Whoppers and sent fans directly to McDonald’s to actually buy Big Macs, as an act of good will. But that was only for one day: McHappy Day, when all Big Mac sales benefit cancer charity.

So will the new app-centric ploy work? Perhaps. But then again, with the extra hassle of driving to two separate locations, customers might still be better off thanking Burger King for the laugh and springing for the closer Big Mac.


Client – Burger King
Agency: FCB New York
Ari Halper – Chief Creative Officer
Fred Levron – Worldwide Creative Partner
Gabriel Schmitt – Group Creative Director
Laszlo Szloboda – Associate Creative Director, Copy
Alex Sprouse – Associate Creative Director, Art
Akos Papp- Associate Creative Director, Art
Adam Isidore – Director of Integrated Production
Henna Kathiya – Producer
Sarah Tarner – Account Supervisor
Jesse Morris – Project Manager
Janice Katz – Business Affairs Lead

O Positive
Jonathan Klein – Director
Htat Lin Htut – Director of Photography
Ralph Laucella – Executive Producer
Jason Reda – Producer

Gina Pagano – Executive Producer
Margarita Mutuc – Producer
Nick Divers – Editor
Kenneth Muñoz – Assistant Editor

Mary Tomasiewicz – Owner/ Executive Producer
Conrad Sanguineti – Sound Engineer

James Wells – Executive Producer
Joshua Green – Producer

Chem Creative
Frank Moran – Executive Producer
Pete Sax – Executive Producer

Fabricio Takahashi – Director of Operations
Daniel Franco – Creative Director
Stefanie Dias – Producer

@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.