Burger King UK’s newest marketing tactic has become this week’s hot topic, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. With a Twitter tagline that could only be described as no less than controversial, BK has essentially made light of an important global holiday for gender discrimination to promote their own gender empowerment initiative.
Cultural Context: Region-based Marketing on Social Media
One thing to look at when attempting to use regional culture as a marketing pivot is each region’s capacity for things like humor, emotional appeal, and in this case, controversial content.
What defines the cultural context of this campaign is the fact that it came from Burger King’s UK division. In Britain, cultural norms and the style of humor differ from a region like North America in that consumer demographics may have been theoretically more receptive to something like stereotypical humor.
Thus, BK’s International Women’s Day campaign may have been launched to initially mislead or offend their target audience in hopes that the follow-up highlight of their actual initiative keeps them within reason and understanding.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?
To be frank, the answer is no.
Though Burger King’s intentions were pure in wanting to promote a targeted gender empowerment initiative, it fell flat because they failed to realize the degree of fixation their initial comment would bring.
In terms of the cultural aspect, social media is potentially one of the worst platforms for region-based segmentation due to both the ability of users on a global scale to view and your content with ease, and the high volume of Americans, a culture that has a significantly lower tolerance towards controversial content, on the medium.
To make matters worse, a large portion of the attracted audience that ended up promoting the campaign did so for all the wrong reasons, with those on the extreme end not only agreeing with the initial comment’s sentiment, but promoting their own misogynistic agendas in the comments.
Finally, the worst part of this campaign is just the lack of follow-up engagement relative to the meaningful part of Burger King’s tweet chain.
With such a small fragment of the audience being able to transcend the myopic view of the low-brow, offensive material in front of them, the initial statement would surely consume any publicity surrounding the campaign itself, rather than highlighting a well-themed initiative with good intentions.