Burger King launched another viral campaign yesterday, a Whopper Challenge intended to grow its young audience on TikTok. Any TikTok user who posts a video with a specialized soundtrack plus the hashtag #WhopperDance will receive a direct message with a coupon code for a $1 Whopper sandwich. Videos with that hashtag have generated 7.4 million views on TikTok so far.
David Miami is the marketing agency behind this weekend’s Whopper Challenge. The agency previously secured several Best of Show awards for Burger King in its bizarre yet stunningly successful Moldy Whopper advertising campaign, which was understandably discontinued in early 20202 notwithstanding its success due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. David Miami also serves Budweiser, Heinz, Coca-Cola, and Maxwell House.
Somewhat surprisingly, Burger King’s campaign is unrelated to Juneteenth holiday developments today. A holiday celebrating the reading of federal orders to end slavery in Texas, Juneteenth has suddenly gone viral today due to the Black Lives Matter protests, George Floyd murder, and a viral endorsement from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. An estimated 500 corporate backers have newly instituted Juneteenth as a paid holiday this week alone, notably excluding Burger King as of the time of this article’s publication.
Burger King is famous for youthful ad campaigns. This year alone, the company’s initiatives have involved couponing tactics such as catching a moving QR code on a screen, changing one’s Zoom background to a branded billboard, and Stay Home of the Whopper [sic] by Agency FCB, wherein Burger King announced that it would waive delivery fees for customers while also giving away 250,000 free Whoppers to COVID-19 healthcare workers.
Burger King has employed many of the most successful ad agencies in the world, including McGarryBowen (Marriott, Hallmark, Disney, Hershey’s, Subway) and Crispin Porter + Bogusky (Domino’s, American Express, Kraft, Netflix).
Burger King also enlisted the help of Foote, Cone & Belding for an internal, employee-focused ad campaign in late May. To convey appreciation for its employees working exposing themselves to possible COVID-19 infection, Burger King invited customers to leave thank you messages when placing an order through the Burger King app. Within three days, Burger King corporate offices were able to distribute 5,100 messages of appreciation to its employees over Memorial Day Weekend in late May.
TikTok is the international version of Douyin, a Chinese mobile video app, which launched in 2016. With an emphasis on short-form music and comedy videos, TikTok’s content resembles the now-defunct Vine. Many restaurants owners have started accounts to engage with especially younger audiences. Douyin and TikTok audiences combined are estimated to exceed 800 million daily active users worldwide.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which entered the U.S. market by way of an acquisition of Musical.ly, an American short-form music and comedy video app which became popular shortly after Vine sunsetted. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is closely connected to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) whose government officials worked in the same building as ByteDance headquarters with certain information-sharing rights.
According to Congressman Scott Tipton, “TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has openly worked with the CCP to distribute propaganda and censor content the regime finds threatening such as the Hong Kong freedom demonstrators—a complete violation of freedoms the regime falsely says it protects. Now, the U.S. intelligence community continues to investigate TikTok amidst reports that the company is transferring sensitive information from U.S. users to the Chinese Government. It is critically important that this app not be allowed on government devices.”