Clearly Thinking: McWhopper PR Stunt





by Sara Jones, Account Manager, [email protected]


Here’s what we think of the recent PR stunt conducted by Burger King and – without them realising – McDonalds.


Businesses across the world are always trying to get “one up” on their competition. We all know that companies have sworn enemies, much like the characters in a fairytale – whether its Coca-Cola Vs. Pepsi, Apple Vs. Microsoft, even Tesco Vs. ASDA. After all, there’s nothing like a bit of friendly competition in the marketplace to help spice things up.

One of the most famous rivalries is undeniably McDonalds Vs. Burger King, with a feud stretching back to the mid-20th century. Something we never thought we would see was a truce between the fast food giants – after all, McDonalds founder Ray Kroc once said of his competitors, “If they were drowning to death, I would put the hose in their mouth”…

But, things seemed to making a change this week, when Burger King grabbed global headlines after offering McDonalds a one-day “burger wars” truce, in honour of World Peace Day. What did they propose? Well, Burger King conjured up something that fast food junkies across the world have been waiting for, for decades: the McWhopper.




Yes, you read that right. Burger King suggested that they make a hybrid of the world’s two most famous burgers, for one day only. However, what could have been a momentous PR success for both corporations, soon fell through due to McDonald’s rather blunt response…

Dear Burger King, Inspiration for a good cause… great idea. We love the intention but think our two brands could…

Posted by McDonald’s on Wednesday, August 26, 2015


McDonalds CEO Steve Easterbrook isn’t exactly the best at communication (especially with the media) – but his reply on social media has done more harm than good. Many social media users were left disappointed by his response, and have slated the company. One user said: “Ending the ‘Burger Wars’ on Sept 21st would be a fun, unique way to raise awareness all in the name of PEACE. Shame on you McDonalds for your lousy response.”

Clearly, Steve Easterbrook could use some good old-fashioned media training (which we wrote about in a previous blog post.) We’re pretty disappointed that the McWhopper won’t get a chance to make it overseas (it’s a McDumb reply if you ask us), but we doubt that McDonalds will suffer much from this “lousy response”. However, one thing is for sure: Burger King put themselves in a win-win situation from a branding perspective, and will most certainly triumph from this PR stunt after looking like “the good guy”.