World's Cleverest Ad Campaign Is Big Failure

Sometimes a worthless "consumer" will see some very strategic high-concept ad that involves, say, a subservient chicken, and innocently ask, "How does that sell burgers?" And then the creative ad execs will chuckle at this un-strategic dunce, their target audience.

Crispin Porter Bogusky is the edgy and creative and strategic ad agency that's been doing all the bizarre, vaguely disturbing Burger King ads for the last five years, like the Subservient Chicken and Sir Mix-a-Lot vs. Spongebob and the idea of having your restaurant represented by a man in a huge, grotesque, smiling mask.

World's Cleverest Ad Campaign Is Big Failure

The great thinkers of the advertising world love this counterintuitive shit. Crispin has won so many awards for these Burger King campaigns they probably are right now, as we speak, constructing a huge, scary sculpture of advertising awards in the shape of the Burger King, which they will use to scare children, strategically. They have totally "re-energized" the brand of Burger King, to the max! The only problem: they are getting their asses kicked by McD's even worse than before.

Between 2003 — the year before Burger King hired Crispin as agency of record — and 2008, Burger King's share of the burger-chain market fell to 14.2% from 15.6%, according to Technomic, while McDonald's share rose to 46.8% from 43.6%. McDonald's has posted average annual sales growth of 6.3% compared with BK's 2.9% gain during that period.

That's because McDonald's runs boring ads that show All-American people enjoying their McDonald's food, with a little jingle at the end, and Burger King runs ads that win ad awards. If only the average burger-eater were clever enough to appreciate Crispin's brilliant branding techniques! You slob Americans get what you deserve, as will Burger King.

I put this matter to the Subservient Chicken and he just shrugged his wings.
[Ad Age]