When Crispin took over the Burger King account, (company CEO) Jeff Hicks told me, the agency "made a decision to be about the 'superfans' who are in the category on a daily basis." (Meaning young men, who are the most reliable fast-food eaters.) So, while McDonald's puts out upbeat, earnest ads aimed at women and children, and has a family-friendly mascot in Ronald McDonald, Burger King has abandoned any effort at broad-based appeal. BK's ads are full of irony and dark humor, and their creepily mute brand icon is the anti-Ronald.... There's something to be said for maintaining focus on your core customer. But Crispin risks pigeonholing itself as an agency that understands only one kind of person.
Industry experts say the move may be Burger King's best bet of giving Ronald McDonald any hint of competition. In a world where Cheesecake Factory now has a low-cal menu and even Sizzler touts the freshness of its grub, Burger King is latching onto the all-critical fresh-and-healthy-food factor."Call it the Whole Foods effect," says Ron Paul, president of consulting firm Technomic. Target's bragging about fresh food, he notes. 7-Eleven's touting it. And Subway's made billions from that premise. "Fresh is it," Paul says.