A subservient chicken is one thing. But, a subservient shower girl?! File this under: When Wrong Things Happen for the Right Reasons.
Burger King U.K. has broken some new ground (or broken something!) with an interactive internet promo targeting the young adult males of England. It features a bikini clad woman singing in the shower. You can catch her every day at 9:30AM, and visitors can vote on the next day's specifics: song, bikini style...you know...all those things so relevant to breakfast. How did they forget water temperature and choice of loofa/no loofa?
Billed as "The World's Guilt Free Shower Cam," it includes such other important promotional features as inviting visitors to "Win a Date with our Sizzling Shower Babe" (over breakfast, of course -- gotta stay on message) and a voucher for BK breakfast food (how the heck did the product actually make it in there?). Hoo boy!
Now let's take a marketing minute here and step back. I'm not trying to rip BK (although it would take very little impetus for me to rip this particular effort). I'm sharing this as an example of how marketers can let information, data and "insights" lead a brand (and company) to make some very stupid decisions. Doing the WRONG things for the right reasons.
I give BK credit for understanding that their core audience is that group of hungry young men who devour a disproportionate amount of the fast food in this world. That's important to know. And, OK, it's smart to target that group in marketing efforts. And, I think in many cases around the world BK has done a great job at addressing this audience (some misses, but some good hits, too - subservient chicken, for one; whopper freakout for another).
But this concept goes way over the edge in its effort to address that audience. That, and it's just plain dumb.
Rationale? I'm sure there's plenty of "rationale," like:
- Research - "Our research showed that breakfast is a male-centric audience for Burger King; it doesn't resonate as well with women -- we are targeting the people who are buying breakfast," says a BKspokesperson. Hellooo, spinsville! So, because women don't buy much BK breakfast food, let's offend them (and any half-way intelligent male as well)?
- Gotta "Break Through" to get the buzz - Let's do something outrageous so we generate a lot of buzz and traffic. OK...I guess I understand that general objective. But, um, can we try to generate some POSITIVE buzz rather than a lot of stupid buzz?
And, while we're at it, maybe we should think about the long-term impact on impression of the brand (not sure many mums will be excited to bring the kids to BK down in London Square...there might be a shower babe in que!). Unless the goal is to make BK the brand for sex-starved young men (and I don't think this accomplishes much in that direction either).
My favorite part is a quote I read that was attributed to the U.K. Marketing Director - "Our shower-cam gives hungry Brits the chance to watch the BK Shower Girl singing in the shower every day to help them work up an appetite for our fantastic new breakfast range."
What the...?! Would any normal person ever say anything like that? OMG! Thank the PR agency for that piece of fluff.
Maybe the folks behind this were well intended. Maybe they had the right motivation, research, strategic insight and buzz-generating mentality in mind when they conceived, executed and put this up online.
But having the right reasons doesn't excuse doing the wrong thing. It's the kind of move that can seriously tarnish a brand, if only because it is associated with something so stupid (not to mention how it might offend some folks out there).
So, next time you have your facts and figures and research all together in tight alignment, when you have the "right" reasons lined up in your argument, take a real close look at what you are actually doing based on those arguments. Otherwise, you could end up with some soap in your eye.
So, what do you think? Has Burger King gone over the edge on this one?