The Mc Whopper Saga

  • Burger King sets up Tumblr interactive animated content webpage in thinly veiled half PR, half Content Marketing stunt.
  • Interactive content on contains an open letter to Mc Donald’s.
  • Open letter states that for one day only the two burger chains should combine burgers ‘in a show of peace’.
  • Mc Donald’s give crappy response back on their Facebook page.

Burger King Sets up a Proper Snazzy Tumblr Sitemcwhopper-proposal-tumblr

Using the classic versus layout and concept makes this a very strong concept from the outset.  However the twist in the story is the open letter.  If this had just been a straight up comparison, the piece would have not been as popular and would have been very likely not to have even got a response from McDonald’s.

The Second Section: The Open Letter


After looking at the side by side comparison you are hit with the open letter (which zooms in when you mouse over it).  You can open the letter and read it.  It is all very well presented and executed.

The Third Section: The Explainer Video

So why are Burger King doing this?  Is it just to promote their brand and get loads of links, social shares and huge exposure from top tier news organisations …. no, silly…. its for a good cause…World Peace Day!

The Fourth section: Did We Mention It’s also for a good cause?! (World Peace) + PLZ SHARE


The Final Section: The McWhopper in all its Peaceful Glory (+ Share Button)mc-whopper-complete

Guys, this isn’t just to promote Burger King remember(!), this is about Peace and ending wars.  (What bigger war is there than Whopper vs Big Mac?!)

Yeah, thats why there is a “Share button” on almost every single section! [sarcastic]

Having something like this built around a good cause is a very good way to increase the persuasive element.

Oh yeah, almost forgot…The Legal Bit!legal-bit

Whenever you create something amazing in content that is a little risky, the entire thing has to be carefully sense checked for legality.  Not 100% sure the high salaried Mc Donald’s lawyers are going to be pleased with the very casual disclaimer for using Mc Donald’s registered trademarks without permission.

News Coverage: Search for [burger king]


This piece has got some big hitters in news coverage.  Independent, CNBC and TIME no-less.  Even the Independent subeditor got completely carried away with this one:

“Burger King wants McDonalds to join forces in creating the McWhopper for World Peace”

– Independent

Sorry, What?  World Peace?  How are two burger chains going to start world peace?

More impressively, a search for [McDonald’s] shows the following stories above the fold

One of the great things about this story was that when you search for [mc donalds] in Google, the top fold which contains the news section has completely been hijacked by this one story.

Hijacking a 16k search term through content marketing

To put this into perspective; Burger King has hijacked all of the news section stories about Mc Donald’s through this one content marketing effort.



[mc donalds] has over 16k Search Volume, so Burger King will be getting huge exposure from this to people who are already Googling Mc Donald’s.


The remarkable thing about this is Burger King have been able to piggy back on Mc Donald’s brand name search and use its greater exposure to give itself more exposure.

What can we learn from this?

  • If the story is good, Brand vs Brand content can steal your competitor’s branded traffic
  • This was successful because it was a great story and a great idea.
  • The visuals are only the icing on the cake.  (…or extras on the burger?!)
  • Visitor is guided very carefully through the story in distinct sections – Clear User Journey
  • Social Sharing buttons are used throughout the piece in each section for maximum exposure
  • Can be tricky legally mentioning other brands.
  • Mc Donald’s response could have gone better
  • Piggybacking on a bigger brand’s exposure through content marketing can be a powerful tactic.

The (Fairly Predictable) Shitty McDonald’s Response

McDonald’s reply on their Facebook page destroys all hope of the McWhopper in one blow.  If anything, this might be what Burger King wanted, as it will create another round of follow up articles from the media as it develops into a story.


Published by Chris

Chris is a London SEO Consultant working as an SEO Account Director for Blue 449, part of Publicis Groupe.

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