Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Sacrificial Gift.

Girl #1: "I absolutely could not believe he sacrificed me."
Girl #2: "I guess now you know what you're worth... less than 1/10 of a Whopper."

Overheard a few coworkers today discussing the Whopper Sacrifice campaign while at the coffee bar. True story - names have been removed to protect the innocent. If you are unaware of Whopper Sacrifice, it's a microsite that links to a Facebook application that sends you a coupon for a free Whopper for every ten friends you unfriend, or sacrifice.


As a media planner, you tend to get unsavvy clients asking for the latest and greatest in media developments as part of their plan - they want to be cool. We love new media - as a tactic in a larger integrated, strategic plan that makes sense for the messaging and the target. New media for new media's sake is flashy, but no more effective than creative for the sake of creative. So, we get used to cringing when clients say, "can you come up with a Facebook application?" Sure, the Facebook crowd is a powerful and desirable audience. But, planning for tactic instead of strategy aside, cluttering up Facebook with useless apps only serves to dilute the potency of the network.

Unless, of course, your Facebook app is a brilliant idea.

I don't know what Burger King's objectives are for Whopper Sacrifice. But for the sake of discussion of Facebook applications, I think Whopper Sacrifice was a brilliant idea. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Whopper Sacrifice is a Facebook app that actually involves the use of Facebook.
Sounds so simple, right? Facebook is an incredibly well-built and organized site with which users have a personal connection. The amount of Facebook applications that don't require you to think about Facebook is astounding. They are confusing, they don't have a strong foundation in their brands, and they make Facebook messy. If an application is not simple, with a clear tie to the brand and product being represented, your efforts are just going to annoy your Facebook user. Instead of being accepted by the cool kids, your brand just looks like the un-hip guy who couldn't quite fit in.

2. Whopper Sacrifice does not require any new learning.
The most basic action at the heart of all Facebook usage is the act of friending and unfriending people. Instead of attempting to create a trend, or trying to teach a new action, Whopper Sacrifice just takes that most basic of all Facebook acts and turns it into something hysterical and (god I hate this word) buzzworthy. It skips the learning process and gets right to the interacting. Interactive that is founded on interaction. Who would have guessed?

3. Whopper Sacrifice is centered around product.
You sacrifice ten people, you get a Whopper. Interacting with the application leads to immediate satisfaction and positivity. You're building your brand while moving product. Marketing, how I love thee.

It's yet to be seen whether this campaign will have any huge impact on sales or brand approval for Burger King, or what its purpose is in the larger scheme of things. But for the moment, it's a case study of a Facebook app that makes sense - for Facebook, as well as Burger King. As a standalone campaign, even. Nice work, CP+B. I thought this was really cool.

And in case you are wondering, no, I didn't use the application. Gluten-intolerance and all - leave the Whoppers for someone who can enjoy them. Always looking out for others. Sigh.


  1. Absolutely true. I had a class a few months ago with some CP+B people who taught us - no more Facebook applications, no more widgets. But, really it was a plead for no more useless facebook apps or desktop widgets - which could not be more true.

    Perhaps media, creative and clients alike can sign some sort of pact agreeing to only mention Facebook apps that actually make sense. Not just for the sake of having a Facebook app.

    I'm drafting up the agreement now ..