When Weird Marketing Works: Burger King’s “The King”

the kingCall it funny, call it creepy, call it confusing…whatever you call the Burger King’s “The King” mascot, one thing is for sure: somehow, it worked.

While the PR agency behind the creations has never come out and said so, there has always been speculation as to the intent of ads featuring The King. There was a stark sort of comedy to them, but a lot of people on the internet kept referring to the character as “creepy.”

What do you expect when a commercial shows a man waking up to find the over-sized head of The King next to him in bed, offering breakfast? With a tagline of “Wake Up with the King,” it’s certainly a memorable ad, but, according to sales figures of that same year when compared to arch rival McDonald’s, not very successful.

While the ads may have been a little odd and nonsensical, anyone involved in marketing knows that any sort of publicity it, at its heart, good publicity. Even when it seemed that there was an almost universal sense of the commercials not being liked by most viewers, the fact of the matter is that all of the discussion kept The King ads in the spotlight.

In response, the ads just got weirder. More than that, there were a few internet-based promotions with The King, further increasing Burger King’s exposure. And in terms of marketing, it’s really all about how many people you are getting your brand and/or product in front of.

Ultimately, The King really became nothing more than a staple in pop culture. While he was certainly memorable, the ads were almost polarizing and didn’t seem to have a huge impact on Burger King’s profitability.

Eventually, in 2011, Burger King did away with The King. The attention of the franchise has now started focusing on moms…something The King was never able to do (he was mostly designed to bring in the younger male market).

And still, while he is no longer around, The King simply has a face you can’t quite get out of your head.



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