Burger King Teaches You How to Do Cause Marketing Wrong

We are within the period of the “silence, brand” meme. And rightfully so.

This shoddy-looking, brand-mocking meme gained traction as extra manufacturers launched trigger advertising campaigns on social media round matters they’ve by no means spoken on. People are seeing this less-than-authentic content material as a stunt to pander to the lots and earn more money.

People on social media are creating content material, just like the “silence, brand” memes, to inform manufacturers to cease speaking about matters exterior of their scope of information or relevance.

Audiences are telling manufacturers to cease speaking matters exterior their scope of information, says @millanda Click To Tweet

Should this scare manufacturers away from taking a stand about something?


Should this encourage manufacturers to take pause and critically take into account what it’s they’re making an attempt to say and the way they’re saying it?


Let’s use Burger King as a case research of what not to do in trigger advertising so you possibly can create an genuine marketing campaign – it doesn’t matter what business you’re in – whereas avoiding huge backlash.

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What is trigger advertising?

Brands can become involved with causes in a wide range of methods, however for the needs of this text, trigger advertising is any advertising marketing campaign targeted on a social concern.

Cause advertising has turn out to be trendier within the final a number of years as a result of manufacturers acknowledge that customers (and millennials particularly) typically take into account a model’s values earlier than shopping for.

It’s completely OK to need to contribute to a trigger and earn money concurrently. The essential factor is that your model sincerely needs to play a job in benefiting society with out exploiting the trigger solely to earn more money.

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Burger King and #Really feelYourMeans

Burger King launched a trigger advertising marketing campaign known as #Really feelYourMeans on May 1 for Mental Health Awareness Month. The fast-food model partnered with a corporation targeted on the difficulty, Mental Health America.

The marketing campaign positively sparked emotion amongst viewers. For me, as a development marketer with a psychological sickness, this marketing campaign actually hit residence. Let’s dissect it and discover what Burger King did proper and what it bought fairly unsuitable.

1. Is the trigger associated to the model’s core mission?

Mental well being is clearly not tied to Burger King’s core model, as famous by these Twitter replies:

Mental well being is clearly not tied to @BurgerKing’s core model. It’s a foul trigger to market. @millanda Click To Tweet

Out of curiosity, I checked out Burger King’s web site to see what it mentioned its mission was. I noticed this sentence: “Our commitment to premium ingredients, signature recipes, and family-friendly dining experiences is what has defined our brand for more than 50 successful years.”

That’s a terrific mission. But for the trigger to qualify as being tied to this mission, it could want to relate to fostering an setting the place premium elements can be utilized or maybe evolving their places to be extra household pleasant.

Instead, Burger King made the attention-grabbing alternative to go together with psychological well being. I agree it’s a critically essential concern (and one close to and pricey to my coronary heart), however as many shoppers known as out, it’s an odd dialog for a quick meals restaurant to insert itself into, particularly since emotional consuming is a factor.

2. Is the model placing its cash the place its mouth is?

Are you supporting this trigger internally?

People on Twitter wished to know. What does Burger King do for its workers that helps its declare to care about psychological well being?

And Burger King bought known as out.

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three. Is the model straight promoting one thing within the marketing campaign?

In my opinion, that is the place the Burger King #Really feelYourMeans marketing campaign failed essentially the most. When I watched the advert, I believed, “This doesn’t seem as terrible as everyone says it is. They’re just part of the ongoing conversation to de-stigmatize …” Then the “Unhappy Meals” appeared.

Once I spotted Burger King was providing a brand new product, my impression of the advert modified. Now I felt they have been simply making an attempt to money in on an essential dialog.

.@BurgerKing was simply cashing in on an essential dialog round psychological well being, says @millanda. Click To Tweet

Don’t be the following Burger King

Check your impulses when you have got a unbelievable thought for a trigger advertising marketing campaign. Make positive it aligns with the group’s true priorities and that you just’re prepared to rise up for these values.

Then, if you’re utilizing your model identify to do some good, you – and your viewers – will be ok with it, too.


Learn what to do – and what not to do – to enhance your content material advertising success. Subscribe to the free weekday CMI e-newsletter. 

Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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