Branding Confusion – Burger King’s new “Satisfries” Campaign

Burger King’s latest campaign, featuring “Satisfries” – a new, lower-calorie version of their traditional French fries – was recently rolled out to the public in an effort to improve its credibility with health conscious consumers.

Amidst many fast food chains trying to promote healthier offerings, Burger King wanted to make sure they stood out. In an effort to make sure consumers took notice of their latest menu item, BK pulled a clever PR stunt, physically rebranding targeted locations, using a new “Fries King” logo (even on the front of the buildings). The selective rebranding also included in-store merchandise and packaging, as well as social media platforms (“Fries King, formerly Burger King”).

New England Consulting Group chief executive Gary Stibel called “Satisfries,” and the supporting marketing campaign, an intelligent move for the Miami-based fast food chain. “What they’re doing is very smart. … What they’re saying isn’t that they have low-calorie fries, but that they have great-tasting fries with fewer calories,” Stibel said.

But not all the PR buzz has been positive. According to AdWeek”s Tim Nudd, “There are a few downsides to this. First, it implies the burgers are probably not very good. And second, it confuses people,” he says in an article on Burger King”s supposed name change.

In the same vein, customers were only too happy to express their displeasure through social media – the very platform that initially released the campaign. One confused customer tweeted: “Can’t tell if it’s true or not but did Burger King really change their name to Fries King…? I don’t…what?” Another posted on a micro-blogging website: “Fries King only tells everyone that your burger can’t compete with anyone else.”

But Nudd admits, “It does appear to be making people hungry.”

The rollout has given Burger King a much higher profile with two important groups of consumers – individuals in good health and parents, who have given the chain their highest marks for the year.

While making changes (albeit, even temporary) to an enduring, well-known brand can be controversial to some, these changes still managed to gain additional publicity and increased revenue for Burger King.