Advertising Strategies and Lessons


Burger King Generates App Usage With Purpose-Driven Campaign

June 3, 2019 Sarah Cavill

burger king app

Many brands have recently embraced marketing campaigns that drive in-store traffic through app usage. Whether via a strategic campaign, partnership or rewards program, brands like H&M and Starbucks are finding success with optimized app-focused marketing initiatives. Burger King implemented a strategic app-centered campaign earlier this year with their geo-targeting 1¢ Whopper promotion, and the burger chain is once again driving app usage with Whopper Loans. This new promotion is a sweepstake encouraging consumers to use the BK app for a chance to win money towards their student loan balances.

Burger King has been out front with their marketing tactics the last several years, including purpose-based advertising, the return of the Burger King at the 2019 Super Bowl and Whopper Loans, their latest app-based strategy.

Burger King May Drive App Traffic With Whopper Loans Campaign

The Whopper Loans sweepstakes includes two weeks of $500 payouts to 300 participants, and a final grand prize of as much as $100,000, all to be used toward paying off the winners’ student loans. With U.S. graduates of four-year colleges averaging $29,800 in student loan debt in 2018, Burger King may have very cleverly hit on a smart way to drive app downloads and usage, particularly among younger consumers. Participants must make in-app purchases, to be picked up in-store, or mail in entry cards, in order to qualify for the sweepstakes.

A Strategic Partnership Between An Online Loan Provider And Burger King Offers Additional Opportunities For Sweepstakes Participants

Burger King’s partner in the Whopper Loans initiative is Earnest loans. Participants in the Whopper Loans sweepstakes have the opportunity to refinance their student loans with Earnest and earn $200 bonuses. Earnest is an online lender owned by Navient.

College Loans Among Several Current Issues Burger King Has Addressed In Marketing Campaigns   

In a 2018 study, one-in-three Millennials and a quarter of Gen Xers said a brand’s politics are important to their perception of the brand, and 50% prefer that a brand’s  values align with their own. As a result of these kinds of consumer attitudes, brands like Burger King are more openly embracing social issues as a part of their marketing strategies. The Whopper Loans sweepstakes is only the latest campaign by Burger King to tackle an issue that’s in the news. Other campaigns have included an explanation of Net Neutrality using a Whopper, the Proud Whopper and the very buzzy anti-bullying PSA. Burger King’s purpose-based advertising continues to be a part of their larger campaign strategies.

With Whopper Loans Burger King May Appeal To Younger Consumers

For the Super Bowl, Natural Light launched 10 regionally targeted commercials to promote their campaign to pay off student loans. The Natural Light campaign revolved around getting branded user generated content (UGC) related to consumers' college dreams, which effectively appealed to younger audiences. The Whopper Loans campaign is also geared toward tech-savvy younger consumers who may be confronting their student loan obligations post-graduation. Targeting the concerns and behaviors of a certain group of consumers can be an effective way to attract their attention and their business.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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