How Burger King shook off ‘lazy marketing’ to show its personality

Understanding the first interaction Burger King chief marketing officer Fernando Machado had with the brand could explain why the burger behemoth goes out of its way to make a splash.

“As a teenager [in Brazil], I saw the cool advertising that the brand did, like Subservient Chicken and Whopper Freakout from those years,” he said, referring to the buzzworthy work created by long-time agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. “It’s so far back in time and at the same time, it’s still fresh and shows how far ahead of time Crispin was back then.”

Keeping the work fresh and noteworthy – and making sure it seeps into popular culture – is one of Machado’s missions. Machado, who came to the brand from Unilever four years ago, saw opportunity, but also a brand that was perhaps trying to be something it truly wasn’t and veering away from what made it special in the first place.

Speaking at the Worldwide Partners International (WPI) conference in Miami, he shared some of the work in between the Crispin glory days and today. One spot, inexplicably featuring singer Steven Tyler, was particularly galling.

“How did [the brand] go from Subservient Chicken and Whopper Freakout to this?” he asked. “It’s lazy marketing.”

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