McDonald’s kills the McWhopper [updated]

McDonald’s kills the McWhopper [updated]


It’s Peace Day on 21st September. To honour this effort by the UN, Burger King proposed a collaboration with their brand rivals, McDonald’s on mcwhopper.com.

#SettleTheBeef is a bit of content marketing genius centred around the McWhopper, a Frankenstein inspired mix of Whopper and Big Mac, with the aim of bringing people together and raising awareness of UN efforts for world peace. People would pay with a peace promise, not cash, and global harmony (or at least a bit of publicity for the idea of global harmony) would result.

McDonald’s response has been described as “arsey“.

You can see the screengrab of their Facebook status to the left. It reads:

Dear Burger King,

Inspiration for a good cause…great idea.

We love the intention but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference.

We commit to raise awareness worldwide, perhaps you’ll join us in a meaninful global effort?

And every day, let’s acknolwedge that between us there is simple a friendly business comeptition and certainly not the unequaled circiumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.

We’ll be in touch.

-Steve, McDonald’s CEO

Way to be condescending and passive aggressive “Steve”, and what a way to dismiss the genuine cultural collateral your brands have built up over the years as meaningless.

In case you’re new to burger politics, a lot of people identify themselves as a McDonald’s Person or a Burger King Person. It’s like the Pepsi/Coca Cola binary, only meatier. Whether Steve thinks it’s important or not, the cultural binary matters to the average person in a way that staid diplomatic efforts just don’t.

But they might matter a bit more after a bite of the McWhopper.

It’s trivial, yes, and obviously generates good PR for both brands. But the involvement of actual people from the actual UN probably shows that this isn’t just a burger battle, and should highlight its real potential to build awareness.

Until McDonald’s killed it dead, that is.

Burger King’s McWhopper ploy was inspired. It centred around a one off event with great content potential, and met people at a level accessible to everyone. War and peace and diplomatic tensions aren’t exactly easy to grasp, the average person doesn’t have time to get to grips with the meat (heh) of these issues in a meaningful way.

It’s an uphill battle to make people care about anything. Involve two global pop culture icons though…that’s a different story.

You’d be surprised what people might care about after a free franken-burger.

McDonald’s promise to get “in touch” sounds about as sinister as you might expect in light of their complete rejection of peace, joy, and fun.

We’ll see what happens, though.

UPDATE: BK’s dream is not dead

In an update on Tumblr Burger King has addressed the many offers from other fast food chains, saying they’d love to collaborate on a Frankenburger for Peace Day, a hybrid sandwich from a collection of major fast food retailers.

According to their post:

We’ve received a significant number of unexpected responses from other restaurants, large and small, expressing an appetite for peac and enthusiasm to help spread the Peace One Day Message. Naturally peace is all-inclusive…Denny’s, Wayback Bugers, Krystal and Giraffa’s, we’d like to build on your individual proposals to collaborate on Peace Day.

Their offer to McDonald’s still stands, though. Peace Day could turn out to be a two-sandwich event, but given the level of obvious contempt in McDonald’s response it’s unlikely :(



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