Recently, you may have heard of the Moldy Whopper. To announce the removal of artificial preservatives from their flagship Whopper, Burger King rolled out a campaign that makes the point in the most dramatic way possible: a time-lapse styled ad that shows the iconic Whopper rotting and turning moldy over a period of days. While removing artificial preservatives is not that novel a move—other fast food chains like McDonalds and Chik-fil-A have made similar changes to certain products—Burger King’s approach to promoting the change is. You can see the commercial here.
True, healthier food has a wide appeal; it’s especially attractive to younger generations, Millennials for example, who prefer foods with fewer artificial ingredients and that are less processed. (Community banks and credit unions know all too well the importance and challenges of marketing to this segment.) That said, by itself the value proposition—a healthier burger—is strong. But given the ad fatigue and distrust of marketing that Millennials are famous for, I have to imagine BK scores big points for showing its iconic burger in such an unappetizing and unflattering light. In other words, the honesty and ugliness of it, versus the predictably perfect, hyper-stylized beauty shots of food that you see in almost every commercial, could strike a favorable chord of authenticity with an audience skeptical of advertising.
One take away from this is that people tend to mistrust perfection, at least the appearance of it: the overly polished burger in the commercial that (as everyone knows) rarely looks like what you get when you unwrap it. Even though burgers and banking are not an apples-to-apples situation, it’s worth considering whether there are opportunities in your marketing where you might stand out by loosening up your marketing’s necktie? A campaign that has the laid-back vibe of casual Friday at work? That presents a product or service in a not-so-perfect-light that ultimately makes it MORE attractive? Just some food for thought.