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Burger King asks customers to share their love with Ronald McDonald speaks to industry experts and finds out how smart is Burger King’s move

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Known for creative and quirky advertising campaigns, fast food chain Burger King recently launched its Valentine's Day campaign titled ‘Lonely no more’, asking customers to click a picture with the famous McDonald's clown Ronald McDonald to avail of a free whopper on Valentine’s Day.


The campaign has been conceptualised by Famous Innovations.

While many appreciated Burger King’s creativity behind the campaign, some also called out the brand. But, this is not the first time Burger King has taken a direct dig at its competition.

Samit Sinha

Samit Sinha, Founder and Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting Pvt. Ltd., said he finds the campaign interesting and such campaigns are very common in foreign markets. “I think it’s a very interesting campaign and they have a history of taking potshots at McDonald’s, the same way Pepsi has a history of taking shots at Coke. Usually, people who get offended are the ones who actually bother to put their comments. The others who are amused or entertained by it won’t comment as people on social media use it more to criticise.”

“Internationally, this kind of advertising is very common but in India, this is not done so overtly. This is a very overt way of doing it as Ronald McDonald is such an important icon of McDonald’s. Such campaigns are very polarised. A person who is a McDonald’s fan might get offended and others may find it entertaining,” he added.

Ambi Parameswaran

Independent brand strategist Ambi Parameswaran, on the other hand, said the idea of sending your target audience to your competitor’s store does not seem convincing. “Burger King is making a light-hearted comment, pulling the leg of its big competitor.”

According to Parameswaran, the idea of linking it to a selfie and then winning a free burger is a good twist. But this idea wasn’t needed to win the free burger. “Are you sending your customers to McDonald's? It would have been a gem of an idea if BK would give free burgers for one’s valentine. A gem of an idea that you get a burger free for your valentine as Ronald practices solitary contemplation,” he added. 


Burger King has a long history of taking digs at McDonald’s through its campaigns.

Burger King’s ‘Whopper Detour’ campaign, which has won a Grand Prix in Cannes Lions in 2019, gave people present in proximity of McDonalds a discount on BK burgers.

Using geofencing technology, Burger King’s Whopper Detour promotion unlocked when users came within 600 feet of a McDonald’s restaurant. It required people to download the Burger King app and drive to a McDonald outlet after which they would automatically receive a coupon for a 1 Cent whopper burger. According to reports, this campaign generated 1.5 million app impressions for Burger King.

On the occasion of World Mental Health Awareness month, the brand introduced ‘real meal’ boxes. Each meal was designed for a feeling, ‘Pissed, Blue, Salty, Yaaas, DGAF.’ However, the campaign was perceived by some people to be taking a dig at McDonald’s as the meal boxes were strikingly similar to McDonald’s Happy Meal packaging.

In 2017, Burger King released a campaign around Halloween with the hashtag ‘scaryclownnight'. Leveraging around the popularity of clown costumes in 2017, the campaign asked people to dress as a clown to avail of a free burger, taking a direct dig at McDonald’s Ronald McDonald.

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