- Burger King will release a new Ghost Whopper sandwich made with "spectral-white buns" to celebrate Halloween. To promote the new menu item, the brand had it "tested" by trance medium Riz Mirza, according to a press release.
- In a "spirits taste test," Mirza invited spirits from the location of a seance — The Alexandria Hotel in Los Angeles — to inhabit his body. As documented in a video, the spirits also tasted the Ghost Whopper that Mirza ate. One spirit raved, another called it "filth" and others were baffled because they had never encountered a hamburger during their time on Earth.
- The Ghost Whopper will be available for a limited time at 10 select Burger Kings in the U.S., beginning Oct. 24.
Burger King's latest Halloween stunt gives a spooky, holiday-specific twist on a taste test campaign. Similarly, AB InBev brand Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer used a polygraph in a recent taste test campaign, while Pepsi updated the "Pepsi Challenge" with digital out-of-home retargeting. These modernized taste tests aim to demonstrate the real-world reactions of consumers to new, buzzy products, often in videos that could go viral if shared widely.
Burger King frequently unveils stunt campaigns like this one around Halloween. The burger chain last year announced a new sandwich for the spooky season that it claimed could stir up nightmares. To prove its nightmare potential, Burger King teamed up with a sleep lab — though it's not clear what market segment actually wants more bad dreams. In 2017, the chain gave a free Whopper to every customer dressed as a clown and released a #ScaryClownNight video. The brand in 2015 revealed a "Halloween Whopper" that was much more limited in its ambition, only offering black buns.
These Halloween-themed campaigns are only a few of the creative approaches the burger chain has taken over the years by "hacking" pop culture in ways that attract customer attention, word of mouth and potentially sales in store. While there are some indications that the attention-getting gimmicks earned bottom line results, as in 2018, not everyone is convinced.
"Same-store sales at Burger King restaurants across the US have been OK but patchy," wrote Mark Ritson, a marketing professor and consultant, earlier this month. "They swing up and down with no apparent pattern... perhaps a function of the disparate promotional campaigns run at Burger King."