Killer Marketing That Makes Effie Worldwide Leaders Stand Out From Competitors
Effie Worldwide has recently announced the ranking for the Effie Index 2022. McDonald's, KFC, and Burger King are recognized as the top 3 brands in terms of marketing and advertising solutions.
Their unusual banners and commercials catch our attention, stick in our memory, and as a result, we actively discuss them and become loyal customers to these brands. We've put together a list of marketing examples from McDonald's, KFC, and Burger King that might help you understand and apply them to your brand.
McDonald's, a retail giant that originated as a humble hamburger stand, now boasts over 38,000 locations in more than a hundred countries, generating annual revenues surpassing $23.183 billion. How did McDonald's achieve such a strong brand image?
#1. Iconic brand identity
McDonald's is instantly recognizable through its vibrant red and yellow colors, the prominent letter M, delectable French fries, and the beloved Happy Meal. The brand's strength is evident in the fact that it sometimes forgoes its name and logo in advertising, relying solely on blurred images of its iconic fries and Happy Meal to make an impact.
McDonald's famous slogan, "I'm Lovin' It," and their catchy jingle, "Para Pap Pap Paa," have become widely known worldwide and have been an integral part of their marketing efforts for many years. The slogan was crafted in 2003 and has been used consistently across all countries where McDonald's operates. The jingle is also consistently incorporated into their advertisements.
#2. Collaborations with global celebrities and international companies
McDonald's has a rich history of collaborations with various companies and renowned artists, such as Travis Scott, J Balvin, and Coca-Cola. Notably, their partnership with American singer Travis Scott in 2020 created quite a buzz. McDonald's introduced an exclusive merchandise collection encompassing food, fashion, and art, offering dedicated Travis Scott fans the opportunity to purchase items like house slippers, basketballs, and toy miniatures of Travis himself. These unique merchandise items were made available on Travis Scott's website.
Moreover, McDonald's curated a special menu in collaboration with Travis Scott called Cactus Jack's, featuring his signature Quarter Pounder burger.
#3. Innovative advertising approaches
McDonald's demonstrates creativity in promoting its 24-hour restaurants. For example, in Saudi Arabia, they devised an ingenious advertising campaign during the fasting month of Ramadan. As per local customs, food companies are prohibited from showcasing food in ads during this period to respect those who are fasting. However, McDonald's Saudi Arabia ingeniously found a way to advertise their products without disrespecting the Muslim faith.
They transformed outdoor McDonald's Drive-Thru screens into Ramadan Iftar Sand Clocks, where falling grains of sand slowly reveal the exact time customers can break their fast. These sand clocks, which take 12 hours to complete — the same duration as fasting — gradually form images of McDonald's meals, such as the Big Mac, McFlurry ice cream, and French fries. Once the sand completes its descent, customers are free to order and enjoy their meal.
Today, KFC holds the position of the second-largest global fast-food chain, trailing behind McDonald's, with a brand value exceeding $12.87 billion. Over 12 million people worldwide choose to dine at KFC restaurants each day. Looking ahead, KFC has plans to expand its presence to 30,000 restaurants worldwide by 2025 — a testament to the success of its global expansion and distinctive marketing solutions that effectively reach its target audience.
#1. Engaging short films
One noteworthy example is an 80s-style 14-minute horror film titled 'La Massacre'. The plot revolves around five teenagers who embark on a weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods, only to be pursued and slain by a monstrous pizza-shaped entity. Remarkably, this film even premiered in cinemas!
Released in 2022, the campaign aimed to promote KFC's Pollizza menu item in Spain. The film was first screened at Cinesa Proyecciones in Fuencarral, Madrid, and broadcasted on KFC's Twitch channel.
The film garnered 100,000 views on Twitch and YouTube, reaching a social media audience of 13 million people with 1.3 million interactions. The pizza boxes featured in the short film showcased an active telephone number that offered exclusive offers and promotions during the launch week. As a result, 2.5K individuals called and enjoyed the Pollizza at a discounted price.
#2. An intimate brand-style hotel experience
In 2019, KFC set out to embed itself in Spanish culture, ensuring their food would be synonymous with satisfying hunger — especially among their target audience, the youth.
In Spain, fried chicken isn't deeply ingrained in the culinary culture; instead, people gravitate towards hamburgers, pizza, and Asian cuisine. Through extensive consumer behavior surveys, KFC uncovered an intriguing insight: the phrase "to KFC" among young people often referred to an intimate encounter, rather than enjoying chicken.
Recognizing the need for comfortable spaces for young individuals to connect, KFC conceived the KFC Palace Suite — a lavish branded room tailor-made for intimate dates. Teaming up with the renowned "Palace Hotel" in Spain, the room was adorned with KFC's signature red and white colors, featuring portraits of Colonel Harland Sanders.
KFC also curated a specialized menu for these romantic rendezvous, available for direct room service. To elevate the experience, the accommodations in the KFC Palace Suite were provided free of charge. KFC enthusiasts had the chance to enjoy a memorable night at the hotel by publicly inviting their desired companion to "KFC" on social media.
Prominent Spanish influencers, such as @Grefg_official (7.6 million followers) and @Cabronazi (11 million followers), actively participated in the campaign. The results were remarkable: the KFC Palace Suite achieved a social media reach of 5.3 million, a staggering 326% increase in average Twitter interactions, a significant surge of 211% in brand mentions on Twitter alone, and the hashtag #teinvitoakfc trended. These achievements amounted to a PR value of 480,000 euros.
#3. Delicious collaborations
Similar to McDonald's, KFC has a penchant for collaborations. One noteworthy partnership was with the shoe brand Crocs, resulting in a limited-edition collection of chicken-scented Crocs clogs shaped like KFC baskets, complete with fried chicken imagery. These unique KFC Crocs made their debut at New York Fashion Week in February 2020, and customers could purchase them for $59.99 per pair.
#4. Brand slogan "Finger-Lickin' Good"
Since the 1950s, when KFC opened its first franchise, the brand has consistently used the slogan "Finger-Lickin' Good." However, due to hygiene regulations stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, KFC temporarily suspended the use of this slogan.
Nevertheless, KFC devised a brilliant marketing strategy: borrowing slogans from other brands! Under the tagline #UntilWeCanFingerLickAgain, KFC playfully incorporated slogans from other companies. They even asked consumers on Twitter to recommend brand slogans, with Nike's slogan being suggested.
KFC revived its iconic slogan in 2021. The "Love You Too" video showcased a post-pandemic world where people joyfully licked their fingers after savoring KFC's fried chicken. It depicted couples proposing in KFC restaurants and even getting tattoos with the KFC abbreviation.
The first Burger King restaurant opened its doors in the suburbs of Miami in 1954. The idea sparked for McLamore when he visited a McDonald's and decided to start his own restaurant.
Within four years, the number of Burger King restaurants in Miami and the suburbs grew to five. Currently, there are approximately 19,247 Burger King restaurants spread across 76 countries worldwide. More than 14 million guests visit Burger King locations every day.
Now, let's delve into the effective brand advertising and marketing strategies that have contributed to such remarkable outcomes for the brand.
#1. Burger Wars
Burger King coined the term "Burger Wars" and became the first fast-food chain to employ competitive advertising. In one of their ads, the brand boldly claimed that Burger King's burgers were larger and more delicious than McDonald's. They even released a video where a Burger King employee, after requesting McDonald's employees to leave the room, compared the burger-making techniques of the two chains.
Additionally, Burger King Germany successfully capitalized on the premiere of the popular horror film "It" to cleverly poke fun at McDonald's. Just before the credits rolled, a text appeared on the screen that read, "Never trust a clown" (referring to Ronald McDonald, McDonald's mascot), immediately followed by the Burger King logo.
#2. The Controversial Moldy Whopper Campaign
How do you convince people that your meal's ingredients are natural, fresh, and free from preservatives? Burger King decided to take a bold approach by demonstrating how their Whopper burger naturally molds over time.
The campaign featured a time-lapse video set against a striking black backdrop. It showcased the meticulously assembled Whopper burger and depicted its transformation over the course of days and weeks. The images revealed the real mold that grew on each component of the meal, from the bun to the freshly sliced onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and the 100% beef patty.
This advertisement garnered over two million views on YouTube, leading to increased sales of Burger King's premium burgers, particularly the Whopper. It successfully drew customers' attention to the quality of their meals. Furthermore, the campaign featuring the moldy burger received prestigious accolades, including the Cannes Lions Grand Prix award in 2021 and three Grand Prizes at the 2020 Epica Awards for advertising creativity.