The main objectives were to create hype, drive footfall and position Burger King as the authority in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry.

The biggest challenge was to cut though the clutter during a time when both Justin Bieber and Jon Bon Jovi were performing in South Africa for the first time. The media were abuzz with the news of the two international celebrities; however the opening day of the first Burger King flagship store was right in the middle of the two concerts. So the PR team at Atmosphere and their social media company, Society decided to hi-jack the media agenda by creating their own “international” celebrity with an entourage consisting of screaming fans, limo rides and a paparazzi following. But our celebrity was a walking and dancing WHOPPER! A week before the opening of the first store in the country, Mr WHOPPER and his entourage arrived at Cape Town International Airport, on a red carpet, to a crowd of placard-carrying fans and paparazzi. Like a superstar, he was taken to Cape Town’s top tourist destinations and even met the city mayor who welcomed him by handing over the key to the city.

The city went into over-drive when rumours were ‘leaked’ that Mr WHOPPER was having a pre-concert cocktail at a top five-star Waterfront hotel with the two other international celebrities, Justin Bieber and Bon Jon Jovi – of course they were only lookalikes! Social media channels went into overdrive and fans and hoards of teenagers with posters flocked to the hotel, ensuring a security breach, as everyone wanted to see the three B’s – Bieber, Bon Jovi and the Burger man!

On Thursday, 9 May 2013, Atmosphere launched the opening of Burger King in Cape Town to a big fanfare. We convinced local celebrities, who accompanied Mr WHOPPER, to serve the first 1 000 burgers. Queues formed around the building and passersby were entertained with live performances by popular local musicians which added to the festivities as people enjoyed their first Burger King on the southern part of the African continent.

The results are proof of the success. Atmosphere secured over R6.5 million in positive media coverage over a short three week period with media representatives begging for invites to the launch event.

In the week where media coverage was expected to be dominated by Bon Jovi and Bieber, a walking hamburger mascot dominated the media agenda.

More importantly the campaign delivered strong business results which far exceeded the international brand’s expectations. In the three weeks following its opening Burger King sold close to 40 000 WHOPPERS and additional products had to be flown in from Europe. The queue outside the store, which continued well into the second month of the opening, became a news story in its’ own right.

“It has been phenomenal guys! Burger King International can’t understand why our campaign was such a huge success! Against worldwide measures, the launch of Burger King in South Africa is seen as one of the best and on par with the most successful launch ever of our biggest competitor in Moscow a few years back. You made us look good. Thank you,” said Jay Sinclair, CEO of Burger King SA.

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