Burger King buses in customers in need of a Whopper fix
There has been no shortage of irreverent public relations campaigns from Burger King recently, but the latest one might have a more practical application than other recent gimmicks.
In Brussels, Belgium, Burger King launched a branded bus service that picks up customers throughout the capital city and takes them to the only Burger King location, which resides in the city’s Auderghem municipality, according to Adweek. The vehicle, called the Whopper Bus, also features copy on the back exhorting people to “follow this bus if [they] are hungry.”
It’s not clear how many customers would actually board a restaurant-bound bus, especially one as gaudy as the Whopper Bus, but the concept could be more useful than it appears.
In major U.S. cities with large populations of non-driving citizens, for instance, pedestrians might appreciate a bus to a restaurant or retailer, especially in areas underserved by public transportation. And bringing customers to the retailer instead of delivering product to individual households could cut down on operating expenses.
As next-gen transportation technologies like self-driving cars continue to improve, the use of retailer-specific mass transportation provides an interesting alternative to emerging last-mile technologies, like drone delivery.
Off-beat promotions, in the U.S. and abroad, have helped Burger King redefine its image in recent years. Last year, the brand introduced a few products like Cheetos-coated chicken fries, which seemed to be more about memes than meals. And in 2015, BK even extended an olive branch to arch nemesis McDonald’s in the form of a public offer to co-create a burger in honor of the International Day of Peace. (The Golden Arches rejected the idea.)
More recently, one social media promotion, as reported on Marketing Dive, invited people who had recently lost their jobs (and could prove it on LinkedIn) to apply for “Whopper Severance,” that is, a free Whopper. And in Russia, Burger King rolled out its own “WhopperCoin” cryptocurrency.
- Burger King Opened a Bus Line in Brussels to Take People to Its One Restaurant There – Ad Week
- You’re fired! But here’s a Whopper – Marketing Dive
- Burger King Cheetos Chicken Fries coming soon – USA Today
- BK has sights set on being the top hot dog in fast food – RetailWire
- McD’s not lovin’ BK’s peace treaty proposal – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the concept of a shuttle bus for a store/restaurant have value beyond PR in cities with large populations of non-driving citizens? Do the economics of running such a service make sense in the long run and would self-driving transportation and other innovations change that?