What Can ‘The Burger King’ Mascot Teach Marketers?

What Can ‘The Burger King’ Mascot Teach Marketers?

The King Collage

Recently, I read the Adweek article titled, Burger King’s Week of Being Misunderstood Just Ended With Advertising’s Best Reunion in Years. In addition to providing an overview of the Burger King’s commercial, All By Myself, the write-up showcases a glimpse of the history behind the fast food chain’s viral marketing mascot, Subservient Chicken. As history appeared interesting, I jumped on to read more pieces on the character. In the process of reading, I was enticed to know about Burger King’s primary mascot, The King. Apart from being interesting, its evolution and longevity suggested ways in which a brand can incorporate its mascot in the marketing strategy.

Here are my top lessons from the history of The Burger King mascot.

Incorporate mascot in the Fusion Marketing approach:

Like most of the big guys, Burger King has as well cooperated with brands, having the same kind of prospects and standards, in joint marketing efforts. In a handful of such fusions, the quick service restaurant has brought in its most popular mascot, The King.

The mascot appeared in the Burger King’s campaign for the film, Superman Returns in summer 2006.

In July 2007, The King featured in the commercials meant to promote the animated comedy film, The Simpsons Movie. Wherein, the character appeared with the show’s typical traits of four fingers, yellow skin, and an overbite.

Burger King - The Simpsons Movie
The Burger King in a commercial for The Simpsons Movie

Later, the mascot appeared in the tie-in promotion of the film, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and advertisements for a cross-promotion with the National Football League (NFL) and Direct TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket sports subscription package.

In summer 2018, the US brigades of Burger King and Budweiser entered into a partnership, which yielded a limited-edition burger, American Brewhouse King Sandwich and revived the American beer maker’s iconic campaign, Whassup. To top it all, The King, holding a set of the new burger in his hand, “spoke” in the spot. The advertisement supported the revitalized campaign.

By doing Fusion Marketing, the associated brands are expanding their reach but reducing their cost of marketing because they are sharing it with others. When such an approach incorporates a brand’s most popular mascot in a unique and engaging manner, the resultant campaign gets more appealing and its outreach gets more effective.


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Integrate mascot into different forms of content offerings:

Apart from using the mascot in numerous commercials, the fast food restaurant has leveraged the persona by…

  • Featuring an animated version of The King at the beginning of each episode of Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, a cartoon series created by Seth MacFarlane and released on YouTube

By integrating the mascot into different forms of content offerings as mentioned above, the brands are leveraging different channels to take their mascots to the audience. In the process of this integration, there is a likeliness for the existing audience to get entertained in a fresh manner, and for a new fan base to get roped in.

Make the mascot spearhead topical moments:

For Good Samaritan Day in 2018, Burger King treated everyone with a good-natured film. In the video, you see a car fire on the side of a highway. Alongside the car is a guy who appears to look up to travelers vrooming past him to lend him a hand. People who pull over to assist the guy are in for a surprise when The King, flame grilling Whopper, welcomes them. What appeared as an engine fire are actually the flames from the grill. The fast-food restaurant presented Burgers and iconic Burger King Crowns to the Samaritans. Watch the video of the one best Burger King marketing campaigns of 2018, by clicking here!

Here, I would like to recall a moment from Tamil Nadu, India. The below bespectacled and laughing character has been the mascot of the 93-year old Vikatan Group…

Vikatan Logo

For decades, the old man has been symbolic of most of the publications and businesses of the group.

On 7th August 2018, when Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, an Indian writer, and politician who served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, India for almost two decades, passed away, the Vikatan group customized its mascot as below…

Vikatan Sad Logo

Topical moments spearhead by mascots, as mentioned above, offer the audience with occasions that deserve everlasting remembrance.

Customize mascot to appeal to children:

Burger King has customized its mascot to appeal to children in various stages of its history.

In the late 1960s, Burger King introduced a small and animated king character called Kurger Bing in its children’s advertising, voiced by the American voice actor, Allen Swift.

Kurger Bing
Kurger Bing

In all advertisements, the character presented small gifts to children or bought them some Burger King Food. In many of the ads that featured the king, he recited the brand’s slogan, ‘Burger King, where kids are king!

Later, in 1976, the Marvelous Magical Burger King, who ruled Burger King Kingdom (a fantasy world associated with Burger King) and performed magic tricks, replaced Kurger Bing.

The Marvelous Magical Burger King
Marvelous Magical Burger King

The King appeared in the Burger King Kingdom commercials from 1976 to 1989. In favor of the Burger King Kids Club Gang commercials, the quick service restaurant discontinued its Burger King Kingdom ad campaigns in 1989.

An updated version of Kurger Bing later appeared in the Burger King Kids Club Gang advertisements during the mid-2000s.

Another case in point is on how the paint company, Nippon Paint India promoted its KIDZ Paint product by involving kids. In 2018, Nippon Paint India used its mascot, Blobby to promote its child wellness product, KIDZ Paint aimed at children in the 0-12 age group. Furthermore with each KIDZ Paint product came a free Blobby hand puppet.

The above examples perfectly illustrate that mascots could come in handy in marketing, especially when brands have the relevance of tapping the attention of kids.

And, here ends my article that maps the high points in the history of The King with marketing. Hope you enjoyed reading the write-up! Now, let me know the marketing lessons, which you have inferred from brand mascots, in the comments!

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