Burger King has attempted a coup of sorts.. Their Norway operations decided that they wanted to identify and engage with their true fans who would not trade their whoppers for anything.

They decided to test the loyalty of their facebook fans (~ 38000 of them). All their fans on Facebook got an offer, the “Whopper Sellout”:

Burger King gave their fans an option to get a free “BIG Mac” (a product of McDonald’s, their biggest competitor) and get banned for life on their fan page or to stay a fan and join the new facebook page for the true fan.

They sent out 50$ vouchers to all those who opted to get the free BigMac. They also sent along a letter thanking and informing them that they are forever banned from the BK fan pages. They seem to have lost about 30000 fans on their page leaving about 8000 true fans..

Watch this short video that tells the entire story:

This experiment is important in a couple of ways:

  • Not everyone who likes your facebook page or ReTweets your tweets is not a fan or loyal customer.
  • Marketers are now realizing that just having a huge number of fan following them on social media alone is not a good metric to aim for.
  • Marketers and brands are maturing in how they use social media and the changes in the metrics being aimed for.

What needs to be seen is if this is considered to be a great marketing ploy or a tactical blunder!

In my opinion, this was a great move by BK. This campaign did them well in the following dimensions:

  • They have connected with their “TRUE Fans”, which means that the level of engagement will significantly improve.
  • This entire campaign was also tongue-in-cheek and hence was able to garner a lot of free publicity (like me writing this blog ;-))
  • Sending the letter along with the vouchers could potentially be a great idea. No one likes to be told that they are banned from a site for life.

By running this experiment, have they opened a pandora’s box? Will other brands follow suit?

Or will this be relegated to be an interesting experiment in the social media space.

We will get to know soon enough.. What do you think about this? Share your thoughts by commenting on the blog.