When we realized that the most famous horror clown of all time – Pennywise from Stephen King’s “IT” – will return to cinemas in September 2017, we saw an opportunity. Because McDonald´s mascot Ronald happens to be a clown as well. So we used the hype around the horror movie of the year to spread a direct message. A message that came at a time when everyone in the theatre was sure to hate clowns so much no one would disagree. The hijacking of the movie was done with two powerful spotlights that added a tagline at the end of the film. Turning “IT” into BURGER KING’s longest direct ad ever.
To hijack the horror movie of the year with a playtime of 135 minutes and making it BURGER KING’S longest ad ever, we just spent 2.000 Euros in light-rental costs. Instead of making our own movie and paying for the media placement, which would have cost us 21.000 times more money.
On the evening of the German pre-premiere of Stephen King’s horror classic “IT”, we let the clown spread fear and horror until the audience had enough. Right when the credits were about to roll, we used two powerful spotlights to show our message to the target group. Warning them about creepy clowns and thereby indirectly about our biggest competitor without naming them once. But we didn’t stop there. When the audience left the theatre we were waiting to make them a direct offer they couldn’t refuse – by giving away a balloon that turned directly into a promotional invitation for a free whopper in every BURGER KING branch nearby to dine with the king.
People were loving "IT" and our longest direct ad for BURGER KING ever. The stunt managed to generate a worldwide response. Within just 72 hours, it achieved over 900 million impressions and generated press coverage on 5 continents, earning 10 million Euros in media value. On social media, the online film earned over 12 million impressions making it BURGER KING Germany’s most liked, shared and commented direct ad to date.
Always in second place, BURGER KING is constantly looking for innovative ways to win their rivals’ customers for themselves. As BURGER KING is placed nearby cinemas in Germany but doesn’t invest much into cinema media, they were looking for new ways of talking to their target group (male, 18-30 years). With our LOVING “IT” direct ad we made a targeted approach in a relevant setting at the right time, giving potential customers a clear Call-to-Action to dine with the King. Establishing BURGER KING as the perfect choice for anybody who’s hungry for a quick burger. The results exceeded expectations.
We wanted to use a cost efficient direct ad that calls on our male, horror- and burger-loving target group to push back against our main competitor and their iconic clown. And we wanted to keep it in BURGER KING’s usual bold tone. The perfect opportunity: The release of “IT”, a horror movie that equaled a pop culture event this year and was highly anticipated by our target audience.