Wednesday, January 9th marked the one-month anniversary of the launch of the Whopper Freakout campaign. The thousands of people who have visited So Good in order to watch the full-length Whopper Freakout video know that I am a fan of the campaign, having called it â€œbrilliantâ€ and â€œgenius.â€ But how successful has it actually been in terms of driving web traffic, web discussion and getting online consumers to view the videos?
Last week, I set out to provide an in-depth, statistical analysis of the web impact of the Whopper Freakout campaign. I contacted both the Burger King corporate headquarters, as well as their leading ad firm that designed the campaign, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky to get some specific raw data about the campaign. On top of that, I analyzed videos posted on YouTube, as well as blog traffic and online mentions of â€œWhopper Freakoutâ€ to determine just how big an impact this campaign has had online.
For those that are skeptical that the site has been getting a lot of traffic, I hit you first with this chart from Alexa, comparing whopperfreakout.com and hillaryclinton.com:
Yes that’s right, for almost the entire month of December, more people were visiting the website for the Whopper Freakout campaign then were visiting the official website of Hillary Clinton, the leading contender for the White House in 2008. It’s not like this was a dead period either, this was in the month prior to Iowa and New Hampshire. The woman I spoke with at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky provided more detail about the web traffic, explaining:
“Traffic has been fairly consistent though it is slower than the first week. The site routinely does heavy traffic on Sundays when the spots are in heavy rotation during NFL games.”
I’m going to hit you with even more charts after the fold, but first, some jaw-dropping raw data:
- The 7 1/2 minute video at Whopperfreakout.com has received more than 1.3 million views.
- On YouTube, as of Wednesday, the full-length video, clips from it, or different versions of the commercials have been posted 22 different times and collectively they have garnered more than 217,000 views.
- 5 parodies of the Whopper Freakout Campaign have been posted on YouTube, including the â€œGhetto Whopper Freakout.â€ Together they have drawn more than 135,000 views.
- On Whopperfreakout.com, visitors are offered a code to embed the full video onto their blog or website. The video has been embedded on 17,086 different blogs and websites.
So we know a few things already. The site has gotten a substantial amount of traffic, and the full-length Whopper Freakout video has been viewed a lot. But we also know that the website was being heavily promoted in television ads as well.
According to Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, the site launched on December 9th, and the television advertising campaign supporting it started on the same day. The core of their target audience is young men, but they have advertised heavily during Sunday football games, so the campaign was expected to generate interest among sports enthusiasts of all ages.
The television ads have been split into two categories. The beginning of the campaign focused on the removing of the Whopper from the menu. This portion of the campaign had two different 30-second commercials and five different 15-second spots. The second part of the television campaign focused on the Whopper being replaced with a competitor’s product and featured five different 30-second spots. The television ads had an immediate effect. Google Trends, which looks at what the new and emerging search terms are each day, shows that “whopper freakout” and “whopperfreakout.com” both burst into the Top Ten for search terms.
A few detractors have argued the video sends the message that there is nothing else worth ordering besides the Whopper at Burger King. However, I feel this campaign is a great way to re-assert the Whopper as Burger King’s signature item. The ad reminds casual fans of the Whopper that it is the burger that made BK famous. Those who don’t normally order the Whopper might give it another shot after seeing how loyal some people are to the burger. Before this campaign started, basically no one was ever searching for the word Whopper on Google. As you might imagine, that immediately changed after the campaign launched:
So we know people have been searching for “Whopper.” Are they simply searching, going to the site then forgetting about it? Or are people actually talking about it? The answer is yes, people are writing and talking about it. A search on Google for the phrase “Whopper Freakout” now gives you 103,000 returns. Let me say that again: 103,000 returns.
Wow. I can’t imagine anyone was ever writing the phrase “Whopper Freakout” before this campaign, so nearly all of those 103,000 mentions have come in the past month. The fact that the video has been embedded on blogs or websites more than 17,000 times is, quite frankly, astounding.
So how does the level of discussion on blogs about the Whopper Freakout campaign compare to ongoing stories that have been in the news for the past month? Utilizing BlogPulse, I looked for a news story with consistent ongoing conversation over the month of December without huge one or two day spikes that might skew the graph (such as the Bhutto assassination or the Mitchell steroids report). The sub-prime mortgage crisis seemed like a good candidate, having been an ongoing story in the news throughout December, but without one major event that would cause a temporary spike. As you can see from the graph below, over the past month the Whopper Freakout campaign was mentioned on blogs with roughly the same frequency as sub-prime mortgages:
To me, this campaign looks like a big success. Burger King seems to have melded together a TV campaign with an online campaign, guaranteeing a level of exposure that, for many people, extends far beyond seeing just a 30-second ad. This means a much bigger return on their monetary investment.
If you pay X dollars for 1 million people to view a 30-second ad, great. But if you pay X dollars for 1 million people to view a 30-second ad and 10,000 of them go to your website and VOLUNTARILY sit and watch a 7 1/2 minute video, that’s a huge plus when it comes to return on your investment. Those 10,000 people were just exposed to the Burger King message for 15 times longer than someone who views a 30-second ad alone.
The fact that 1.3 million people have viewed a 7 1/2 minute video (which is quite long as far as “viral” videos go) is substantial. Additionally, since the video has been embedded more than 17,000 times the campaign has had a solid online reach. Many people may not watch the video, but have probably stumbled across it being embedded on a blog they read, and are therefore more aware of the campaign.
Of course I’m not the only blogger who commented on this video when it first came out. You can read the reactions of other bloggers HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
For those of you who made it all the way through this post, thanks for reading. I hope this analysis has been instructive, informative and interesting for all of you who took the time to read it.
Note: I would like to thank the representatives who I spoke with at Burger King and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. They were both incredibly helpful, extremely professional, and went out of their way to answer each and every question I posed to them.