Burger King Gets Royal PR Boost from Twitter Hacking

We’ve all heard the tired maxim that there is no such thing as bad publicity (though Lance Armstrong may disagree). So it makes us feel warm and fuzzy when this adage reveals itself to be true.

When news hit that the Burger King Twitter account had been hacked, PR professionals across the globe cringed. The amount of damage inflicted on a brand via a hijacked social media platform can be immeasurable.

When hijacked, the brand is at the mercy of whoever is in control of the account and information. If the hackers decide to bring the crazy, the brand had better prepare for a long and bumpy public relations response campaign. The mere perception of not being able to secure one’s own Twitter account raises a host of questions regarding basic competencies and safeguards.

Though the breach in cyber security raises some serious concerns for Burger King, the brand didn’t just dodge a bullet on this one–it received a significant social media boost.

It’s simple, really: unlike the BET/MTV fake hacking stunt, this little incident inspired a lot of people to follow Burger King, which means the audience for its next Twitter campaign will be that much bigger. Better get ready to bring your A game, BK.

Worst-case scenarios didn’t come to pass, either: None of the posted comments were too offensive and, let’s face it, the idea of McDonald’s taking over Burger King is pretty funny. It might even explain Ronald’s face paint, his compulsive need to conceal his identity and his refusal to stop associating with the Hamburglar.

So it’s not surprising that both Burger King and McDonald’s received a considerable—and favorable—public relations boost. That sort of publicity is invaluable as brands struggle to remain part of the narrative in our accelerated culture–even if it comes from a security failure.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”