Shreyas Kulkarni

Burger King’s guerilla tactics turn an infuriated Hrithik Roshan into a brand ambassador of the QSR's Rs 50 range

CMO and CDO Kapil Grover explains why it choose to do such a campaign and if it marks the start of a pricing war with rivals.

Burger King’s guerilla attempts to onboard actor Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador, won it several nods and salutes over the weekend, plus an annoyed actor to boot.

As Monday dawns to a close (you are reading this on a Tuesday), Burger King (BK) revealed that it did another number on the actor. A BK employee masquerading as a paparazzi got the actor to say “Fantastic”, which the brand then used as a promotional tool for its Stunner menu.

The actor and his legal team were quick to clap back only for him to face defeat at the hands of BK’s Stunner menu – a variety of items, each priced at Rs 50.

Kapil Grover, chief marketing and digital officer, BK, says actors and cricketers help you to grab eyeballs, but because it is BK, you can’t do a typical ad featuring a star. And so, you ask yourself, how do we put a twist on it? “No other brand will dare to do it, it comes naturally to us.”

The ad series, which is available online, will be released on TV in a staggered manner. It has a run time of eight weeks and is staggeringly different from the maiden campaign of the Stunner menu that was released in 2021, which was similar to BK’s global Crown campaign.

Grover explains that the first campaign acted as a tool to build awareness around the Stunner menu. “We had to explain to the customer that this is a new menu, it has multiple items, it costs Rs 50 and that campaign did the job quite well.”

Cut to 2022 and BK wanted to do a “Stunner 2.0, which raises the bar on engagement, conversation, buzz and entertainment value of the campaign.” Grover states the brand, globally, stands for the cultural hacks it doles out and always gains disproportionate cultural recall.

The campaign’s initial idea was an entertaining piece of content around the Stunner menu, which focuses on the fact that it’s a Rs-50 menu, and establishes it as a new price point for the consumer. And also, how does one execute it in a clutter-breaking fashion?

Roshan was the first choice for the campaign, but “one should never build a campaign around a star, they should find a place in the campaign.”

The constant light being shone on the Rs 50 price point might point towards a new competition bone among QSRs, where the price is the new bait to lure consumers. A June 2022 ICICI Securities research states, “Within burger chains, we found that Burger King is cheaper by 8-10% than McDonald’s in the affordable segment.”

Grover, however, feels there is no pricing war. The brand is not going down a discount or a deal route.

He explains how value menus either have one to two items at the value price or it says “starting from Rs X” and when you buy things of your choice, you see the price is higher than what you expected. “We intended to solve the two problems of the consumer. That was the idea of the Stunner menu.”

Amid all the chatter around the Stunner menu, another stunning fact was the creative agency behind this entire campaign. The first thought would have gone to Famous Innovations, BK’s creative agency on record. Instead, it was Leo Burnett Orchard.

Grover says BK has agencies on retainer, but when it comes to creative ideas and solutions, it is always good to keep an open brief and today’s agencies love to work on such projects. “For our first Whopper launch campaign in 2016, Lowe Lintas was not our agency on record,” he reveals.

Pravin Sutar, Leo Burnett Orchard’s creative head, remarks that BK, as a brand, has been cracking clutter-breaking ideas and it is something that brings newness to thinking, and that was what we wanted to capture.

“When we came up with the idea of a celebrity, we had Hrithik in mind from day one. BK saw the merit in the idea and always supported it,” he reveals.

The campaign will run for eight weeks on TV, digital and even Spotify. “It is a complete 360-degree campaign where the spends is much higher on digital than BK's traditional preference towards TV because the content is such that it will travel quickly and so digital made sense,” remarks Grover.

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