Look Out, Colonel Sanders: Burger King Is Calling Itself the KFG, ‘King of Flame Grilling’

With grilled chicken, 'a king always outranks a colonel'

No fast food brand is safe from Burger King's marketing. Burger King
Headshot of David Griner

With Burger King so often setting its sights on rival McDonald’s, other brands might have been lulled into a false sense of complacency. But never sleep on the King, because he could come calling any minute.

That’s a lesson KFC is learning this week with the launch of a new Burger King spot that dresses its King mascot in a white suit, shiny belt buckle and a bolo tie (of sorts) to dub him the KFG: King of Flame Grilling.

At the heart of the spot, created by MullenLowe, is a new grilled chicken sandwich, which bodes well for KFC in the sense that Burger King isn’t going all-in on the Colonel’s core turf of fried chicken. (Burger King has an odd history with chicken. In America, people aren’t sure what the chain does or doesn’t sell, while in the U.K. the brand has to literally bribe people to give its chicken a chance.)

KFC also gets off pretty easy compared to McDonald’s, which has been trolled relentlessly by Burger King (among others, namely notorious Twitter mean girl Wendy’s). Last year, Burger King ran print ads with photos of McDonald’s executives’ homes, just to highlight that they owned grills.

Then, in the true coup de grâce, Burger King this past December created “Whopper Detour” to reward fans who drove close to a McDonald’s—and then drove away to redeem the deal at a Burger King.

Just to rub a little salt in the chicken, Burger King will, starting today, feature “KFG” on sandwich wrappers at select restaurants in Kentucky, Miami, Los Angeles and New York.

“Burger King has been flame grilling since our first restaurant opened in 1954—we have over 60 years of grilling expertise under our belt,“ says Chris Finazzo, North American president for Burger King. “We wanted to celebrate this expertise and show that when it comes to flame grilling, we ‘reign’ over the competition.”


Client: Burger King
Global Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King: Fernando Machado
Head of Global Brand, Burger King: Marcelo Pascal
Head of Marketing, Burger King North America, Renato Rossi
Advertising, Media and Communications, Burger King North America: Diego Suarez
Media, Traditional, Digital and Social, Burger King North America: Jorge Oliveira
Social Media and Digital Marketing, Burger King North America: Flavia Guetter
Advertising and Merchandising, Burger King North America: Nicole Alevizos
Advertising, Burger King North America: Liza Keller
Media, Traditional and Digital, Burger King North America: Madeline McDermott

Agency: MullenLowe U.S.
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino
Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist
SVP, Creative Director: Enrique Camacho
Associate Creative Director: Cody Dummer
Associate Creative Director: Allison Hughes
Strategy Director: Mike Cassell
Social Content Writer: Arielle Mulgrew
SVP Executive Director of Integrated Production: Lisa Setten
SVP, Head of Integrated Production: Zeke Bowman
VP, Executive Producer: Karen Haffmans
VP, Executive Producer: Brian Smith
VP, Director of Integrated Studio: Dan Howell
VP, Director of Art Production: Tracy Maidment
Director of Print Production: Aidan Finnan
Content Producer: Abbey Daniel-Green
Sr. Photographer: Erika LaPresto
Digital Imaging Supervisor: Nick Bleil
Sr. Digital Imaging Artist: Alex Abdalian
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Amy Keddy
Sr. Project Manager: Kelly Benson
VP Account Director: Kerry McKibbin
Account Supervisor: Alison Whisenant
Account Executive: Caroline Bailey
Account Executive: Leila Chee

Director: Dave Laden (Hungry Man Productions)
Executive Producer: Caleb Dewart (Hungry Man Productions)
Line Producer: Tina Densmore Bell (Hungry Man Productions)
Production Supervisor: Alexa Brugger (Hungry Man Productions)
Editor: Jim Hutchin (Hutch Co)
Editorial EP: Jane Hutchin (Hutch Co)
Color: James Tillet (MPC)
Color EP: Ed Koenig (MPC)
Finish EP: Matthew Loranger (MPC)

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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."