- Burger King has dropped the "King" from its logo in Belgium after its brand mascot the King lost the vote to Belgium's real King Philippe in an online promotion, according to a news release made available to Marketing Dive. Burger King officially decided to pull the campaign after a conversation with the country's royal palace, Reuters reported.
- The campaign, made with agency Buzzman, was in promotion of the chain opening its first restaurant in Belgium and actually drew a rebuke from the royal family earlier this week for using a cartoon likeness of Philippe for commercial purposes. Burger King decided discretion was the better part of valor and announced the results of the online popularity contest with King Philippe getting 51% of the vote and the King mascot 49%.
- "The brand always respected the people's choice and must face the harsh truth. As a consequence, Burger King gives up its title and withdraws it from its logo," a Buzzman spokesperson wrote in a statement to Marketing Dive.
Burger King has turned pulling an ad campaign — usually the signs of a PR fail — into a clever marketing play, extending the legs of the online voting promotion by actually ceding the loss to King Philippe and dropping an iconic part of its logo. It's also managed to earn a lot of international media chatter from outlets like Fox Business and Mashable, with headlines like "Burger King ad angers the real king of Belgium" being bolded in the press release, which might be one last bit of trolling toward the royal family.
While the campaign certainly provided Burger King with its fair share of buzz, it had the potential to turn off Belgians who might read it as not respecting their cultural norms — a big risk as the brand tries to move into a new market. However, Burger King has proven to be more than willing to take chances on coming off as obnoxious with its recent marketing.
In April, the brand launched a series of "Connected Whopper" TV spots that essentially hijacked Google Assistant on Google Home and voice-enabled Android devices without user's permission, drawing some criticism for being intrusive and also appearing to frustrate Google, which scrambled to shut down the campaign.