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When A Fast Food Company Tried An Honest Marketing Campaign

As an industry known for its rapid pace, wafer-thin profit margins and somewhat broad market sectors, fast food has tried every form of marketing campaign there is to try.

From featuring huge cartoon mascots on life-sized graphic design printing billboard campaigns to paying for music artists to mention their menu items and misusing slang in online advertising campaigns, it feels like companies such as Mcdonald's, KFC and Wimpy have tried everything.

In 2020, however, Burger King opted for the somewhat unusual approach of having huge billboards displaying their flagship Whopper burger after 35 days in all of its blue mouldy glory.

Amazingly enough, there was a reason for this and that reason was honesty.

Most food photography and food marketing is made up largely of tricks that help to showcase the best side of a meal. From having bowl lifts to show the filling of a soup, a microwaved cotton bud to having steam billow from a hot meal, and using glue instead of milk, photography tricks are everywhere.

This is even more so the case with fast food, where these tricks are compounded by the often liberal use of preservatives and additives to ensure that a typical burger lasts longer and that there are fewer wasted ingredients.

This has gotten to the point that a famous website in Iceland is a live stream of the decomposition process of the very last hamburger ever bought before McDonald’s left the region.

Burger King, in an effort to both stand out and shame the industry in the process, produced an advertising campaign to promote the fact that their burgers will no longer contain artificial preservatives, with the slogan somewhat ironically touting their beauty.

The exact success of the campaign will probably never be truly known, given what happened a month after its launch, but the statement it made was stark, striking, and bizarrely beautiful.

There is a beauty in honesty, in presenting your company’s authentic self alongside its best side, and whilst there should perhaps never be another “mouldy food” advertising campaign, it does highlight that customers respond to and respect companies that bravely address concerns that they have.



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