‘Black Burger’ Trick or Treat?

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Burger King burgers are dressing up for Halloween.

Burger King in a press release on Sept 28, unveiled the “A1 Halloween Whopper” just in time for the spooky season. The black burger, which originated in Japan, has now debuted in the United States and it’s not just the color that’s causing commotion.

The idea to change the color came from the worldwide success that started with the release of the Japanese Kuro Burger (black burger). The Japanese burger, made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, enjoyed such success that Burger King decided to release the mysterious snack stateside.

“Our U.S. guests have been extremely curious about the bun flavors they’ve seen introduced in Japan and other countries, so we saw the opportunity to bring them an equally unique experience,” said Eric Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer, for the BURGER KING (R) Brand in North America. “We tailored the flavor of the black bun to the American palate with A.1. sauce a flavor this country loves, and we’re delivering it in a way that’s never been done before by baking it into the bun. It may look Japanese but it tastes like America.”

The burger, sold at select stores for $4.99, has stirred mixed emotions with American audiences.

Twitter is swarming with users comparing the black burger to a burger aired on a SpongeBob episode while others are excited about the twisted treat.

According to a CNN article, the bizarre bun is the first of many experiments that Burger King is using to cause their competition to quiver.  

As a PR professional, what are other ways the black burger campaign can increase productivity on its path to success? Do you think Burger King is smart for launching this burger during the Halloween season? Is it a trick or a treat?

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5 Responses to ‘Black Burger’ Trick or Treat?

  1. Allyson Gerrard says:

    Wow! What an interesting idea. I commend Burger King for being so clever and releasing this black burger during the Halloween season. I would assume in the next week we’ll start to see Halloween themed ads featuring the burger (if it’s not already happening now). BK should definitely take advantage of social media and use a good hashtag to showcase their fans loving the new burger. McDonald’s has played with their shake flavors in the past, I know they had a green Shamrock Irish themed shake for St. Patrick’s Day. I wonder if they have something up their sleeve for the Halloween season. So far I haven’t noticed anything from them yet.

  2. Brittani Gomez says:

    Alexandra Long,

    Your question about “buzz” surrounding this burger is somewhat detailed. There has been quite a bit of “buzz” on Twitter surrounding this new burger. Many people are comparing it to a burger off of SpongeBob while others are voicing their opinions on Instagram. Actually, a friend of mine just posted an image of the black burger earlier today and used hashtags to describe his feelings about it. I think that once more people start to try the burger, more conversation will begin and people’s feelings towards it will really come out.

  3. Mary Kenney says:

    I think that the black burger campaign will definitely increase curiosity about Burger King and the black burger. Many people will try it just to try it. It is also an interesting idea to put the A-1 flavor into the burger. That is something I have never seen on a fast-food menu. I think it was a great idea to launch this burger during the Halloween season. One of the colors of Halloween is black, so the hamburger matches perfectly. It would be awkward to launch the black burger during a holiday season that is colorful. It is a different campaign and I am interested to see how successful it is. I do think that this is the best time of year to launch the campaign though.

  4. Asia Poole says:

    I think this burger was released at the perfect time! Halloween is such a celebrated season in America, the only time to release such a burger would be now. This campaign is interesting to me because until reading this post, I had no idea why they actually did it. I honestly thought it was just to boost sales during this season. If I were to do a campaign like this, I would suggest that we do more explaining of why we added this product. Only because the knowledge of “the why” is one of the main ways I measure a successful campaign.

  5. Courtney Bannon says:

    I think this is a pretty weak campaign for Burger King. They have had huge issues positioning themselves in the fast-food market and I think their energy would be better spent elsewhere. In regards to this specific campaign, I think the burger looks unappetizing. A black burger may appeal to a Japanese audience, but it reminds me of bread that has gone bad. It was smart of them to change the flavor of the bun though.

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