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The Burger King Whopper has been a staple of the American diet since its creation in 1957, when it sold for 37 cents. The original Whopper consists of a sesame seed bun, with a quarter-pound grilled ground beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Whooper variants are available, and although they may be a little pricier, they hardly cost any more to produce. The most notable variant is the Whopper Jr., which is just over half the size of the original. Successful marketing of the Whopper has been an ongoing process since its introduction to the Burger King menu, and competitors of the fast food joint have been trying to mimic the enticing qualities of the burger for many years. McDonald’s and Wendy’s have provided Burger King with the fiercest competition, and there is no doubt that McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty, (as well as other similar burger sandwiches, such as the Big Mac and the Quarterpounder) and Wendy’s Big Classic sandwich have taken some of the Whopper’s success away, but none of its competitors have ever been as successful as this original sandwich, available at Burger King.
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The Burger King Whopper
There have been many advertising campaigns that attempt to reach a greater audience regarding the Whopper. And as of late, much of the advertising has been for promotional variants of the Whopper, such as the Angry Whopper (which also has jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, spicy onions, and hot sauce) because advertising these variants not only demonstrates the variety of foods available at Burger King, but doing so also draws attention to the original Whopper.
The Whopper is a product of Burger King, which has been, for many years, one of the most productive fast food companies is the United States, and throughout the rest of the world as well. Burger King was opened in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, in Miami, Florida, but today, there are over 11,550 restaurants worldwide, over 60% of which are in the United States. The company estimated that during 2008, approximately 11.4 million customers were served daily, worldwide. The Whopper is the signature product of the restaurant, and throughout history, the sandwich has proved to be its most-marketed attribute, which has always been more successful than any product of McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain.
Nutritional Value of the Whopper
Burger King hardly advertises the Whopper as being nutritional or low in calories. It is marketed by its great taste, and hunger-ending ability. The original Whopper has 670 calories, and 350 calories from fat. 39 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 115 milligrams of cholesterol are absorbed by anyone consuming a whopper. The product is not marketed to people who try to eat healthy. It is marketed to the much larger population of people who want to eat something big, that satisfies their hunger, and has a great taste, and although it is very low in nutritional value, it has always been the most successful attribute of Burger King. The product targets young men mostly, who are aged in their twenties and thirties.
The Whopper’s Regional and Promotional Variants
Burger King has introduced variants of the Whopper that are only available in certain regions. This is because the company feels that certain ingredients are likely to be more popular in some countries, and less in others, so they sell variants accordingly. The Angry Whopper is only available in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia, while the Bacon Swiss Whopper, which has bacon and Swiss cheese, is available only in the United States and Canada. The California Fresh Whopper is only sold in Sweden, which has sour cream and cucumbers instead of pickles and mayonnaise. Those are examples of Whopper variants, and there exist many more. Many variants were designed specifically for sale in Australia, such as the Dark Whopper (although another variant deemed Dark Whopper, with other ingredients, is available in England and Ireland), the Whopper with egg, and the Aussie Whopper. There are even regional variant sales within the United States, such as the Mustard Whopper (which simply has mustard instead of mayonnaise as the prime condiment) and it is only available in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Some of the variants intend to provide an ethnic twist to the whopper, where particular ethnic cooking is regarded as a delicacy. For instance, the Italian Whopper, which has avocado instead of lettuce, is only available in Chile. Certain Whoppers that contain aspects of local foods are also available in certain places, such as the Teriyaki Whopper of Japan, and the Bulgogi whopper of South Korea.
The Big N’ Tasty, a Competitor from McDonald’s
The original Whopper has always been more successful than any of its variants. It has also outsold all of its major competitors, like the McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty and Wendy’s Big Classic. The Big N’ Tasty replaced other attempts to replace Burger King’s whopper, such as the McDLT and McLean Deluxe. The burger has remained much the same, but McDonald’s has been constantly changing the name to make it sound more appealing. Celebrities such as Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, and the NBA’s Kobe Bryant have appeared in advertisements for the McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty. The name Big N’ Tasty was given to the burger in 1997, but the same product had been available for years under different names. Changing the name, and offering promotional and regional variants of the sandwich were exhibitions of McDonald’s attempt to popularize the burger, and have it offer the BK Whopper serious competition. But McDonald’s has been unable to produce any product that is as popular as the Whopper, and it is the restaurants large menu, which includes many breakfast items, that keep it on top of the list of the world’s fast food restaurants, of which Burger King is second.
The Big Classic, a Competitor from Wendy’s
Also, the Wendy’s Big Classic has sought success in the same market that the whopper participates in. It was created to compete with the Whopper, and was introduced in 1986. A couple of years later, a variant, called the Big Bacon Classic was introduced by Wendy’s, and it sported two pieces of bacon in addition to the beef paddy, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, ketchup, onions, and pickle, and Kaiser roll bun. In 2007, the Big Bacon Classic changed its name to the Baconator, which remains as the only variant of the Big Classic on the Wendy’s menu. The Big Classic sandwich targeted young men who were first concerned with satisfying hunger with something tasty, just like the Whopper and McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty, but it did not enjoy the same success as the Whopper.
Advertisement Campaigns for the Whopper
Advertisements for the original Burger King Whopper have been changing over time, but original slogans for the burger focused on how many ingredients it took to make the perfect burger-sandwich (which was ten). Originally, this line of marketing used the slogan “there are 1024 ways to have a Whopper,” which later was changed into “there are 221,184 ways for a customer to order a Whopper sandwich.” There have been numerous other advertisement strategies used to spread the word about the great taste and popularity of the sandwich, such as a Candid Camera-style video taping of customers responding to false news that the Whopper had been discontinued (and needless to say, for the sake of the commercial, all of the people shown were quite frustrated).
Advertisements Against McDonald’s and Wendy’s
As McDonald’s and Wendy’s have attacked Burger King’s Whopper in their advertisement campaigns against it, often with lines such as “Big N’ Tasty, tastes better than the Whopper,” or “bigger than the Whopper,” Burger King fired back in 2007, by taping customers who ordered Whoppers, but were given products of McDonald’s or Wendy’s (and the camera showed their lack of satisfaction for what these customers thought were going to be Whoppers). The Whopper has also been advertised in accordance with movies, such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In 2008, Burger King launched a series of commercials about “Whopper Virgins,” who had never tasted a Whopper. These advertisements showed residents of Greenland, Thailand, and Romania eating Whoppers and Big Macs from McDonald’s, and it showed these people’s clear preference for the Whopper. Other successful slogans for Burger King include “The home of the Whopper,” and “Have it your way,” and they have picked up a mascot, known as “the King.”
Burger King has always adamantly advertised the Whopper, the company’s most popular product. They have created a marketing scenario known as the “Whopper Freakout,” which shows people freaking out in a fictional scenario where the world is void of Whoppers. The fast food chain is the world’s second largest, after McDonald’s, but the Whopper still produces more income than any of McDonald’s single products do for it. Other restaurants, such as Hardees and even non-fast food restaurants are trying to steel some of Burger King’s success with the world’s most popular burger. Today, Burger King is working on new methods of advertising, and it is trying to rework its breakfast commercials, but the Whopper still continues to be at the heart of most of Burger King’s advertisements, and it was what comes to mind for most people when they think of the restaurant.
Rein, Shawn. Forbes.com. Learn From Burger King's Advertising Fiasco. 20 April 2009. Accessed 24 April 2009. http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/20/advertising-global-mistakes-leadership-managing-marketing.html
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