Burger King | Restaurant Brands International (US)

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Selected Burger King advertising

Burger King is the world's #2 hamburger chain after McDonalds, but years of under-investment had left it struggling in its rival's shadow by the early 2000s. Burger King arguably tasted better than McDonalds, but it lacked the latter's polish, administrative strength and marketing muscle. A deal was finally agreed in 2002 to free the chain from the portfolio of its then-owner, the drinks giant Diageo. Independent again for the first time since the 1960s, the #2 finally had the chance to give Big M a run for its money. Performance improved slowly but steadily between 2002 and 2010, enhanced by offbeat and unusual marketing aimed at Burger King's core young male market in North America. In 2010, the business was acquired by investment fund 3G Capital, which vowed to ramp up the chain's previously uneven international presence. The group floated part of its equity again in 2012, and two years later agreed to acquire iconic Canadian coffeshop chain Tim Hortons for around $11bn. The enlarged group adopted the new corporate name of Restaurant Brands International. It added a third string to its bow in 2017 with the purchase of US chain Popeye's, which specialises in New Orleans-style chicken and shrimp dishes. BK is the world's 4th largest restaurant chain with 17,800 outlets in 2018 and system sales of $21.6bn, up 9% year-on-year. Tim Hortons and Popeyes add another $10.6bn combined to the group total. Virtually all outlets are franchised. RBI's reported revenues for 2018 were $5.4bn, with net income of $1.2bn. Daniel Schwartz moved up to executive chairman of RBI in 2019, with José Cil, former president of Burger King, becoming CEO. Alexandre Macedo is president, Tim Hortons; Alexandre Santoro is president, Popeyes. 3G Capital remains the largest shareholder with 44% of equity, and is also the biggest individual shareholder in both in brewery giant AB InBev and food group Kraft Heinz.

Capsule checked 5th October 2018

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Adbrands Daily Update 21st Jun 2019: Interpublic's Grand Prix haul continued at Cannes with two top prizes to FCB on Wednesday, adding to the three already collected by McCann and Momentum, and then three more on Thursday. FCB New York collected its first Grand Prix of the festival for Direct with its cheeky "Whopper Detour" mobile campaign for Burger King. Another followed in the Mobile category. "Whopper Detour" also collected a third Grand Prix on Cannes' final day, in the prestigious Titanium category, making it the only campaign to win three Grand Prix this year. The agency created a GPS map of all arch-rival McDonald's 14,000 outlets in the US. When users of the Burger King app passed within 600 feet of one of those branches, they were sent a direct message offering a BK Whopper instead for just one cent, with directions to the nearest outlet.

Adbrands Social Media 23rd Apr 2019: "Go On, Say It". Nice work from BBH London for newish client Burger King, designed to emphasise the fast feeder's trademark brand. It's a bold - and funny - strategy to show customers being turned away just because they say the wrong thing, but it really makes you want to try this out for real. What *would* they do at your local Burger King if you went in and asked for a cheeseburger. I dare you to have a go and then tell me what happens in the comments.

Adbrands Social Media 4th Feb 2019: "Eat Like Andy". What a find! There weren't many big surprises among the Super Bowl's hitherto un-sneaked ads, but Burger King's spot was one of them. Oddly, it's credited to both the fast feeder's main creative agencies David Miami and MullenLowe, despite the fact that neither shop did much more than find this great piece of archive footage, which comes from a 1982 documentary by director Jorgen Leth entitled '66 Scenes in America'. No other creative work was required , making it one of the least complicated ads in the Big Game. However, typically in these lawyer-dominated times, it took a whole year to negotiate usage rights with Jorgen Leth estate and the Andy Warhol Foundation. It was probably worth it, this is a little gem of cinema verité art in its own right.

Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Feb 2018: Restaurant Brands International, the group that owns Burger King, Tim Hortons and now Popeyes, took investors by surprise with 4Q figures that were well above expectations. BK delivered systemwide sales growth of over 12% in the final quarter, and over 10% for the year, as a result of rapid expansion of its retail estate. Combined sales topped $20bn for the first time. The same-store increase was almost 5% for 4Q and over 3% for the year. All BK outlets are now franchised, following a decision by the group to offload all company-owned stores. "The pace at which partners like these are opening around the world highlights the strength and scale potential of our master franchise development model," said CFO and chief technology & development officer Josh Kobza. Performance wasn't anything like as strong at Tim Hortons and Popeyes, where systemwide sales were up low to mid single digits for the year, and same-store comps were down slightly. Despite the sell-off of company outlets, the group notched up a 10% rise in total revenues to $4.6bn, while attributable net income soared by 80% to $626m.

Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2017: Ads of the Week: "Bullying Jr". Ogilvy satellite David Miami shows it can also do serious for Burger King, not just disruptive or cheeky. This in-store stunt supports the fast feeder's social responsibility campaign against bullying. The idea is actually a bit silly - it would be good to know whether the customers actually got the point of the stunt after making their complaints about mashed burgers - but the role play scenes are really quite upsetting. Most people don't get involved in situations like this for fear the aggressor might pull a knife or even, in the US, a gun. So big applause to these two customers who did step up to make a stand. 

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