- Burger King is heralding the elimination of 120 artificial ingredients from its menu with a trio of Keep It Real Meals curated by celebrity ambassadors, according to a news release.
- The custom orders, which hit select stores Sept. 12 while supplies last, come from rapper Nelly, singer Anitta and social media influencer Lil Huddy, whom Burger King asked to use their real names versus their stage personas. Nelly is representing The Cornell Haynes Jr Meal, while Anitta is promoting The Larissa Machado Meal and Lil Huddy The Chase Hudson Meal.
- Burger King is tying the promotion to its Royal Perks loyalty program that rolled out nationwide earlier this month by offering guests the meals for $6 apiece when they sign up. Keep It Real Meal boxes will also carry QR codes that can be scanned to open interactive brand experiences, though the marketer did not detail what those look like.
Burger King expands its commitment to offering fresher, more natural food with the nationwide reduction of 120 "non-essential" artificial ingredients — the blacklist includes mouthfuls like sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate and potassium hydrogen sulphite — and an accompanying Keep It Real Meals promotion.
The effort, which was developed with Burger King agency mainstay David Miami, builds on recent marketing like a "Moldy Whopper" campaign from last year that depicted the chain's signature menu item rotting over time to eventually become covered in blue and green mold. The gross-out concept highlighted the removal of artificial preservatives from the Whopper in several key markets and served as a shot across the bow at McDonald's.
The Keep It Real Meals take a page from McDonald's marketing playbook. The Golden Arches owner has been doubling down on celebrity partnerships over the past year, tapping global music stars like J Balvin, Saweetie, Travis Scott and K-pop group BTS to design custom menu orders. It's a tactic that's paid off on the sales front while acting as an onramp to McDonald's app — an increasingly important channel for fostering loyalty as the pandemic enshrines digital and mobile ordering habits.
Burger King is putting its own spin on the idea by asking ambassadors to use their real names, aligning with the larger "real food" theme. Nelly's Cornell Haynes Jr Meal consists of a Whopper with fixings, small fries and a small Sprite, while Anitta's Larissa Machado Meal swaps out the regular Whopper for an Impossible Whopper with different toppings while keeping the same sides. Lil Huddy's Chase Hudson Meal consists of the Spicy Ch'King — a fried chicken sandwich that debuted in June amid fast food's ongoing chicken sandwich wars — as well as four-piece mozzarella sticks and a 16-ounce chocolate shake.
Like McDonald's, Burger King is leaning on star power to support a bigger push into loyalty. Royal Perks launched in February in a handful of markets but went nationwide in early September. The company claims that 80% of members are likely to recommend the service to other consumers.