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How McDonald’s cashed in on global burger emoji debate

As Twitter debated if Google’s burger emoji was right or wrong, McDonald’s India, KFC and Burger King made sure to raise their brand conversations around it. McDonald’s was the first one to put up a video and the other two reacted to its tweet

Original Tweet: Thomas Baekdal, author and market analyst

In what can be called a case of real-time marketing, McDonald’s India was quick to jump at the opportunity to talk about its burgers amid a burger emoji debate that raged on Twitter last week.

At the end of the last week, Thomas Baekdal, an author and market analyst, had put up a tweet with burger emojis from Apple and Google, asking why Google’s burger had cheese below the patty and just above the bottom half of the bun. With that tweet began a discussion and debate about how ingredients should be prioritised in a burger.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai too took a note of this on going twitter discussion and promised to resolve the "cheese on bun" issue. His tweet read, "Will drop everything else we are doing and address on Monday:) if folks can agree on the correct way to do this! "

As everyone started pouring in their suggestions, putting up video links of some popular chefs, McDonald’s India shared a video saying, ‘no matter where you place the cheese, the burger will be delicious for sure, as long as it is McDonald’s.’

McDonalds India tweet:


Leo Burnett Mumbai made this happen for its client McDonald’s India. Speaking to BestMediaInfo, Prajato Guha Thakurta, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett Mumbai said, “This whole emoji debate between Google and apple was trending on Twitter few days back. The germ for this idea to encash on the burger emoji conversation actually came from a servicing person Sanju Menon, Senior Vice-President, who handles Bajaj. He was the one who said that shouldn't McDonald’s do something around this! We immediately decided on it. Time is of great essence with something like this. So, the moment we got the idea, we cracked it at about 5 o clock, sent the video to the client who got the approvals of PR, legal and bosses within an hour’s window before her flight. We did all of that in one evening.”

Well, the conversation about how do you like your burger to be made is an interesting one. By the sound of it on Twitter, it looks like the world is interested in talking about it going by the sheer volume of tweets that are being sent as replies to Baekdal’s original tweet. Why not expand this idea for a marketing campaign beyond Twitter and social media?

Guha Thakurta said, “One can expand it to other platforms but for ideas like these, sometimes it's best to leave it to where it belongs without trying to stretch it too much. All this started on Twitter, we didn’t even have plans to put it on Facebook, but people did post it on Facebook. This is one of those things that you put out and wait for the internet to do the job.”

Surprisingly, despite the fact that there are so many fast food chains globally and in India, McDonald’s India was the first one to hop onto it. “I was surprised how nobody took it up. We had thought that a lot of companies would do it. Everybody reacted, but only as a response to what McDonald’s did. KFC replied to our tweet with a video. Just to be sure that we are the first ones to do it, we executed everything internally so as to save on time.”


KFC’s Reply:

McDonald’s reply to KFC:

Burger King’s reply:


About reactions from the client, Guha Thakurta said, “Initially, the client was wondering what was happening. Because we presented and said that we wanted to do this ‘now’. None of us are used to this real-time marketing and this hasn’t happened earlier, so they took a bit but they signed off saying let’s do it. Once they did it, the kind of responses they have got is amazing. This is something that has worked well. Something that was created without any brief and without spending three days.”


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