Sometimes even The King can get his crown knocked off.
An edgy Burger King
The problem here is that unlike the quiet "de-friending" process on Facebook, the 10 deletions showed up as being "sacrificed" on the social-networking site for all to see.
This had all of the makings of a marketing stunt going too far, and everyone knew it.
"It may sound clever, but you know it's going to ruffle a few feathers in the Facebook community," I wrote last week. "The site also is unlikely to appreciate seeing its viral networks shrink in the pursuit of a burger."
"BK's shenanigans on Facebook are more likely to backfire," fellow Fool Anders Bylund rightfully predicted. "They arguably undermine the whole idea of Facebook marketing as a constructive viral force, turning it destructive instead."
Burger King has been on the cutting edge of marketing for a few years now. In a wholesome niche where McDonald's
Jack in the Box
It's a shame this time, because Burger King was tapping a viral hit. 82,711 Facebook users added Whopper Sacrifice to their pages before the social-networking site shut it down. Site watcher Inside Facebook claims that more than 230,000 friends were sacrificed.
The math is telling. If it takes 10 cuts to land a free Whopper, why did the average user wind up whacking less than three friends? The answer, naturally, is that all but roughly a quarter of the application users got cold feet. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of inspiring ill will among the Facebook community, it got people talking about Burger King and the esteemed value of a Whopper without a lavish marketing campaign.
It turned heads, though not as brilliantly as when it landed a choice burger product placement in Marvel's
No one wants to see BK lose its edge, but given the creepy plastic mug on the guy, it wouldn't be so bad to see him lose his head.
Other tasty Foolishness:
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz lives in Burger King's hometown of Miami, and hits "the BK lounge" often. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.