Burger King: Chicken Fries Are Back! — Live from Member Meeting 34

Coverage of this session by Ryan Ronayne of SocialMedia.org. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

2:10 — SocialMedia.org's Kurt Vanderah introduces Burger King's Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media, Adam Gagliardo.

2:11 — Adam says he's always looking for business opportunities through social and trying to quantify them.

2:13 — Adam: It all started with social listening, which eventually led to social sales. Here are the three types of conversations Burger King listens for:

1. Brand Conversation = “Burger King is life”

2. Menu Item Conversation = “Love Whoppers more than bae”

3. Consumption Conversation “My Mom just took me to Burger King”

2:14 — Adam: How it started: February 2014 they saw a big menu conversation spike for chicken fries. It was started by the media, BuzzFeed's “Top 25 fast foods that are no longer around.”

It continued with passionate protesters on social media. Most were craving chicken fries, others were petitioning to bring them back “Bring back Chicken Fries or I'm going to boycott” and some were angry “BRING BACK CHICKEN FRIES OR I'LL KILL MY DOG.”

2:16 — Adam: Who was talking about this? Students, pop culture lovers, social media obsessed, and fast food fans. They're talking about sports, Twitter, and Tumblr, too.

From this we quantified it by asking ourselves the important questions: Is it enough to make a business argument? Was it financially viable and actually feasible?

2:18 — Adam: This presented us with a business opportunity. Initially we were met with some skepticism, but after it was approved, it was the first time we launched a product specifically through social.

2:21 — We looked at the packaging through a social lens using, “Eat it. Tweet it.”

We used iconic pictures and incorporated the chicken fries mascot. Sometimes simple is the best answer. We recognized it was our fans that brought it back, and we were listening.

2:23 — We had a specific strategy for each channel: We went to Snapchat first, which is where some of our super fans hang out. We gave them the first look. Facebook was a media vehicle. We broke the news on Twitter with a fan's tweet. We used promoted tweets and drove a lot of conversation. After the initial message of “you made it happen.” we used simple messages to make them sharable, like “You did it. You've won. They're back.”

2:25 — We promoted our tweets and became trending through paid and organic.

2:26 — When Robin Williams' death began trending on Twitter, out of respect for him, we shifted our strategy at that time. We took down the promoted tweet — a move that was picked up by the media which created additional impressions around the launch.

2:28 — On Twitter we focused on our fans' content and sharing that. It activated a lot of influencers for us. Their content helped us trend on Twitter a few other times.

All that resulted in over a million Twitter mentions in just over 10 days. A lot of the content shared was the packaging. That was a huge win looking back at the start of the process.

2:29 — Beyond all the great stories and tweets it really increased sales and got buy in from senior management (now the team is growing too).

Q & A:

Q: Had you already created a Snapchat following, or was this used to create one?

A: Adam: It was early, and we didn't have the resources to staff it but we used it as an experiment. We just sent out a few tweets to our followers about launching on Snapchat, and we saw a lot of activity and excitement from there.

Q: Who was involved outside of the social media team in the launch?

A: Adam: We didn't have a big budget (much much smaller than anything we'd typically do launching through traditional media). Like anything with our industry, the physical stores had to be trained and were aware.

Q: Why was this product discontinued originally? Did you learn anything from social to help you moving forward? Any additional relaunches?

A: Adam: I wasn't there when it was discontinued so I can't specifically answer why it was discontinued. In this case, relaunching chicken fries the stars aligned and it might not be something we can repeat for a number of other products. There was nostalgia here. We're looking for insights from where to go next rather than looking at the past.

Q: What was the lead time?

A: Adam: The articles came out in January 2014. In April/May we starting talking to management about bringing it to market. Everything came together within eight months.

Q: Can you talk about the business case to launch this?

A: Adam: We worked with a number of departments to really figure out feasibility. We asked if it would it work with operations and similar business units. In this case, it did.

Q: Is it a normal part of your process to look at various launches to gain insights?

A: Adam: We do track conversations and run a report on a weekly and monthly basis to gain various insights. Other teams are much more interested in those now after the success of this campaign.