Why The ‘McWhopper’ Proposal Isn’t As Crazy As It Seems

Burger King has been in the news recently for their McWhopper proposal: a burger that’s a combination of both their Whopper and McDonald’s Big Mac. The burger would be offered for one day, September 21 (the International Day of Peace), and all profits from it would go towards the organization promoting that day, Peace One Day. McDonald’s declined the invitation, and said that both fast food chains could do more separately. The idea of a McWhopper in the first place isn’t something most people would think of, and no doubt many others are wondering what they were thinking. But is a McWhopper proposal as crazy as it seems?

The McWhpper proposal ran as a full-page ad in two papers, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. While online news sources have grown to challenge most print newspapers, the two papers combined have a total circulation of 2.2 million; quite a readership base. So that is a significant amount of people who might see the ad. A full page ad in the Times runs to $ 70,000 per day. That rate is there for a reason. Advertising in the Times brings rewards, especially with something eye-catching, and the colorful McWhopper proposal ad fits that very well.

It also helps that both McDonald’s and Burger King are household names. Burger King serves over 11 million people a day, and McDonald’s serves a whopping 65 million a day. A large, colorful ad that references both might make a consumer think about stopping for lunch at one of them one day. Even small businesses have reported increases in sales after a full page ad. What might it do for two of the biggest chains in the world? After less than a day, there’s already over 100,000 results for “McWhopper proposal” on Google, and 28,000 if the news option is used.

You might note neither of these things are about the actual McWhopper. To put it simply, there isn’t a reason to make the burger in the first place, proposal or no proposal. The references to charity are a nice touch, and no doubt Burger King was more than willing to donate all the money a McWhopper might bring, but what this is really about is publicity. Quick serve restaurants like Chipotle and Panera are becoming the first real competition to fast food in decades. The perception of both of those as a healthier choice than the very well known calorie-laden fast food burger and fries as well as similar service times cuts from their bottom line. So anything that could drive up more customers is a good thing. After all, how many ads in the New York Times get their own story somewhere else in the paper? That’s what the McWhopper proposal got.

[Image via McWhopper YouTube Screengrab]