Burger King’s new marketing campaign, “The Whopper Freakout” is, simply put, brilliant.

In this hidden camera style video, we get to see how people react when they are told the Whopper has been permanently discontinued, as well as how customers react when the bags they are given contain not Whoppers, but Big Mac’s or Wendy’s burgers.

I could further critique why this is such a funny, interesting and innovative marketing campaign, but instead I just urge you to watch the video and see for yourself….keep your eyes peeled for the 30-second and 60-second versions on TV.

84 Responses

  1. CoryP

    I agree, And i used to dislike burger king growing up now that im older and the kiddie menu isnt the clencher for me anymore….for a fast food burger joint they are awesome. Whopper = God

  2. Derrick

    I think the campaign is good, but they have a recognizable commercial actor posing as the manager in the commercial which makes me think this never actually happened and everybody was in on it. Maybe they just wanted an actor who would be convincing when questioned, but if I walked into the restaurant that day, I would have known it was a prank as this guy from TV is working there. I also wonder, if this was real, how people in the area felt about it…if I went to a place to eat for one specific item and couldn’t get what I wanted I probably wouldn’t care if it was part of a commercial, I would not go there again.

  3. Nick

    I live in Las vegas nevada and i was actually there at that exact burgerking that day when they said the wopper was discontinued. I never really liked the whopper so i didnt really cared that they discontinued it but i was shocked that they did. I was just standing there watching people curse out the workers . IT WAS ALL REAL. Even though i did not say something that would get me into the video when i left they where giving out free 10 $ gift cards to anyone who would sign a paper saying they would use you in the commercial

  4. Hillary

    I agree! I saw that commercial and literally thought to myself, “wow, they’re good!”. And to think, I JUST found out about the subservient chicken like a day before (I know, where the hell was I?)

  5. Dan

    Derrick: TV commercial directors have this magical thing they can do called “editing” which makes your point… well, what was it, exactly?

  6. Mac

    like stated they use a friggin actor from a tv show, on comedy central as well as other commercials, wow i wonder why they needed an actor. and they offer an incintive to use your footage? can you say paid actors….

  7. sherry

    What is wrong with you people? Why can’t you eat something good for you like a salad? This is why everyone is so fat in America and eating themselves right into the grave Whoppers and Big Mac’s. What you see on the picture is not what it looks like when you get it anyway it looks like someone sat on it to warm it anyway there gross. Everything you order is a fat filled junk food on there menu. Its just nasty and even Wendy’s and Carl’s Jr is just as bad nothing is good for you or your kids that is why kids are huge. You all just go right ahead and eat your way into the grave it leaves more space for us healthy eaters at least Jack in the box has more on the menu and and thinks about his customers and about there health he doe’s not have to use stupid garbage like this. Burger King is so stupid the King gives me the creeps!!!

  8. Eick

    Yikes. Settle down there Sherry. No one is talking about eating 9 Whoppers a week or anything. In fact it’s probably been months since I last had a whopper.

    Settle down, switch to decaf, and realize that we are critiquing an ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN.

    Also, your bizarre defense of Jack in the Box as somehow better than any other fast food joint is nonsense.

  9. WW~

    Actually, Burger King sucks. McDonalds is worse. If I went to BK and they gave me a Wendy’s burger, I’d be happy. But Mickey D’s has the best fries.

  10. dawn

    sherry seriously needs to relax and stop badgering people about their lifestyles. did the first dude in the commercial look like a “fatty”? No. I eat BK whoppers, MickyD Bic Macs and Wendy’s chilis very often. im not fat. 98 lbs siz 0. my kids aren’t fat. If your happy eating rabbit food, more power to you. I am an omnivore and will eat meat and meatlike products forever. The ad was funny. The reactions were crazy. Your badgering strangers is ridiculous.

  11. ST

    Just for your information, I was there too. I don’t go to BK all the time, I am not a fatty, I enjoy a good burger now and then. BK has been around for a long time. The whopper goes back quite a way. Was it the end of the earth when they said the whopper was gone? No. But as a customer who went to BK thinking of getting a whopper and then being told they didn’t have it anymore. WOW! COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! Really thought it was a bad idea. BK & Whopper, they belonged together. To stop making them? Again, WOW! And you know what? They sure got all of you, and then some, to talk about it. GENIUS! GENIUS! My hat off to them. See how many hits on youtube? WOW! Not including their site and all the other sites that are running their commercial. Viral? YUP! Good Job BK!

  12. C.J

    Man I laughed hard when I saw this commercial! It was creative and convincing. It also let people know that eventhough you may be on a diet or you want to eat healthy, everyone craves a burger at some point. There is just something magical about meat and cheese together. I’ve lost 70lbs and dropped 10 inches and I’m still losing weight. My doctor said i’m healthy and I still eat fast food ( burger king esp) when i want! Fast Food is good!! And by the way we are not the only country with obesity Miss Sherry!! Watch CNN China and the U.K especially are in the running!
    I love burger king and Meat and Cheese Rules!!!

  13. Dan

    This is brilliant! They used actors because let’s face it, most regular BK employees wouldn’t be able to pull this off and probably would’ve either started laughing or messed up at some point.

  14. shatraw

    eick, your blog tends to end up arguing fast food a lot. then again, my blog uses the word “fucking” a lot. takes different strokes, i guess.

    also, to those of you skinny people who devour fast food and claim it has no ill effects on the body, just a quick note. YOU ARE METABOLIC FREAKS. i knew someone like you once. all he ever ingested was pepsi and steak. and he weighted 150 pounds soaking wet. and he juggled… ie he was a circus freak. freaks. stop bragging about your crazy rate of turning food into energy. you’re depressing the “normies.”

  15. Eick

    Yeah, the amusing thing is when it comes to fast food in the burgers and fries sense I almost never ever eat that stuff. But as this blog shows, I am fascinated by the thinking behind new product offerings and the way it is marketed and advertised.

    I stick mostly to local deli’s and ethnic restaurants with my eating out, but that doesn’t mean I can’t salivate, dry heave or get wide-eyed over the latest fast food offerings.

    So all you Sherry’s of the world go give shit to someone else, just cause I write about it doesn’t mean I regularly eat it.

  16. Heather

    Is this an attempt to call out McDonalds for not having a cheeseburger, hamburger, or the Big Mac on their late nite menu. Pretty ironic!?

  17. Yummy

    I have a half hour lunch and sometimes I drive 10 minutes out of my way………. just for the whopper. 10 min to drive there………2 minutes to order and recieve………10 minutes to drive back and eat along the way (I know, bad habit) – back to work on time…..satisfied.

  18. Littlenick

    Wasn’t that first kid in the black shirt “Rat” from “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”?

  19. netryder

    The Whopper Freakout = Complete Stupidity. What moron thought that pissing off a customer by not having a product available was a good idea? Here’s a news flash: They freaked out because they couldn’t believe how incompetent management was in not making sure that there were enough Whoppers in stock!

  20. Brandon

    Sherry obviously is an idiot along with “shatraw”. I eat fast food all the time and am of normal weight. It’s called balanced nutrition and exercise. This piece by Burger King is amazing. This is viral marketing at it’s best. I didn’t recognize the manager as an actor, voice sounded familiar but chances are most people won’t know him. Even if this is staged, how else would burger king create a video that says “I hate Mc Donald’s and Wendy’s”. Thumbs up!

  21. yo

    the manager is an actor and one or two customers are actors too

    the clip with the two guys out side, the one with the ” burger queen”, the guy on the left is from some where i cant quite put my finger on it.

    if any one knows tell me im going crazy tring to figure it out .

  22. Juli

    Personally I just think this commercial shows how pathetic the human race is that we get so upset over fried cow.

  23. Eick

    Actually Juli, getting upset over fried cow would be silly. The reason people are so upset is this is FLAME BROILED cow. Big difference. And oh so much more delicious.

  24. Michael

    I personally feel that the Whopper sucks anyway, they could discontinue Burger King for all I care. Everything you get in there tastes burnt, not just flame broiled, more like charcoal on a bun!!!

  25. crosstek

    “To prove our whopper is the best thing since slice bread, we’re going to tell people who asked for the whopper that we don’t have it. That’s totally going to prove our point!”

    …except not really.

    Ugh! I am really sick of this commercial, and even more shocked that so many people think it’s “creative” and “brilliant”.

  26. jen

    Brilliant? Hardly… Does it make me want to eat there? No. Does it make anyone want to eat there? Maybe…I can’t speak for others. I just don’t see how it is a brilliant campaign when it doesn’t showcase the food itself… Nor does it come oout with some new product to draw customers… Or to make ones that already go there go more often. Hardly brilliant at all…

  27. Eick

    Could Burger King ever come out in an ad and directly say “McDonalds is disgusting?” or “I hate Wendy’s, it’s nasty?” Nope, but in this video they get that message across by getting real customers to say it for them. For that reason alone I think it’s incredibly effective, but clearly the reactions of customers also convey a sense of the incredible loyalty some people develop to the Whooper.

    It’s reasons like this I think the video is brilliant…and frankly, the results back up my belief, the video has been lighting up the internet as one of the top search results on Google ever since the ads started running.

  28. crosstek

    Okay Eick,

    First, yes, Burger King could come out with an ad like that. Think about how Subway and Chipolte argue about which sandwich is better, etc.

    Second, the customers saying it for them would say pretty much the same thing if they went to McDonald’s, asked for a Big Mac, and were told it wasn’t carried any more…or, really, if any consumer was denied a product they already had in mind to buy.

    So basically, they took responses they knew they’d get, souped them up in the context of a ‘mass hysteria’ freakout, and use that to prove that their sandwhich is superior. Which its not.

    As far as results go, yes, they’re getting a lot of attention…just like most internet campaigns do. If we’re going to laud the success of the video based on the number of hits, then we’ll have to compare it to other interned ads. Was this marketing venture as popular as ilovebees.com? Lonelygirl15? I’m actually asking, since I don’t have figures, but at a guess, I’d say that in terms of internet advertising, whopperfreakout.com is ‘ho hum’.

  29. Eick

    Sure a company could make an ad like that, but people think OF COURSE corporate Burger King is going to say McDonalds or Wendy’s sucks. But getting customers to say it delivers it in a much more raw form.

    You say they are getting a lot of attention “just like most internet campaigns do.” Actually there are hundreds of internet campaigns that go nowhere. These types of internet campaigns are what I do for a living, and I can say that this one has been wildly more successful than the average internet campaign. The results in terms of web traffic, seem to be far from “ho-hum”. Of all the internet campaigns that have been done, in terms of audience reach this one is clearly in the top 1% overall.

    I am not aware of a single fast food viral or internet campaign that has done as well as this one so far. I would guess it has surpassed the Wendy’s hot, juicy burger website. The only thing that seems to come close would be something from a couple years ago like the BK Subservient Chicken.

    Anyways, as someone who works in the internet marketing industry for a living, that’s just my take.

  30. shatraw

    yeah, well i officially invented “marketing” and “advertising campaigns” and “burger king” and i think this is ok. y’know. just ok.

  31. nate

    you fuckin jackass, if any fucking fast food chain discontinued their signature item people would freak out. Its just brought to everyones attention that nothing at burger king is worthy of eating except for their one wack ass item. give it a month before another commercial says “oh you discontinued the jumbo jack? well let me get some of those jalapeno poppers 2 monster tacos, a teriyaki bowl and salad instead then.”

  32. Eick

    Wait….I don’t get it. I’m a jackass for writing about this? Or for thinking it’s a smart advertising campaign?

    My post about this campaign has received more comments than anything else I’ve ever written about. Plus people are saying things like “jackass” and getting all worked up about it….doesn’t that just go to show how successful it’s been? Even if people don’t like it, they are now aware of it, unlike the hundreds of totally unnoticed internet campaigns each year.

  33. jbhilt

    You don’t have to be a BK fan or a fast food fan to appreciate the brilliance of this particular marketing campaign. People might freak out if any fast food place discontinued their signature item, but BK made a commercial about and it seems to be a big hit. With all the lame ads out there these days I give this one a big thumbs up. I think I’ll go get a whopper!

  34. crosstek


    I’m going to ignore the last three posts and respond to the one you directed at me (mostly because you actually know what you’re talking about and I don’t care to make my arguments through the use explitives).

    Your point about this being better than “most internet campaigns” is a good one. I generalized. Truth be told, I don’t have a basis for comparison. Would you have figures to support BK’s success? While I agree that “most internet campaigns” may not be an accurate figure for comparison, it’s hard to say “hundreds of internet campaigns go nowhere”, much for the same reason we can’t disqualify the existence of the Loch Ness monster. Do you know of any website that keeps track of internet ads so we can get an idea just how many fast food internet ads have flopped or flown? If not, maybe we should both forgo the use of numbers to back up our side and just examine the merits of the ad itself.

    As far as getting the customer to say ‘it’ is concerned, I’d very much like to see how much editing went into that video. Since you work in internet marketing, I”m sure you’d agree that BK’s campaign is hardly truthful in it’s entirety. Without out and saying it, they’re using the customers who said what they wanted to hear as their subjects and most likely ignoring a large (possibly majority?) of customers who just didn’t really care, to imply that everyone would completely lose it if Burger King got rid of their whopper.

    Your thoughts?

  35. Eick

    Hey Crosstek, thanks for your response. I don’t have access to traffic figures or the number of views the video has received on their site (BK would have to release that data themselves) to back up my statements. I’m basing my opinions on this on the incredibly high ranking of the phrase “whopper freakout” in Google searches since the campaign started. The fact that tens of thousands of people are Googling that phrase shows me it has successfully gone viral.

    As for my saying hundreds of internet campaigns go nowhere, I’m making that statement just based on the many internet campaigns I have heard about or observed in the past 4 years. Tons of companies are trying to make their campaigns go viral, and it is incredibly hard to break through the noise there are hundreds of campaigns the average internet user never hears about because they never go anywhere…the video or website fails in its attempts to go viral.

    As for your points about editing of the video, it is a very valid one. I’m sure it took an entire day of filming to get 6 minutes worth of “TV worthy” reactions for their ads. But, that’s just kind of the way these things go, whether it be for commercials or candid camera.

  36. shatraw

    the bottom line is the internet marketing is entirely a numbers game. opinion and perception don’t really factor into it so long as the counters keep ticking up. whether consumer x or consumer y acutally “like’ the campaign is completely besides the point. effectiveness, in this market, is based primarily on headcount (ie traffic). if the numbers go big, the campaign is working. plus, anything done online costs jack shit. so the likely cost per conversion is much lower than, oh, tv, print, billboards, pretty much anything.


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