MIAMI: Marketers should exploit the instant measurability of digital to pursue more calculated risks on behalf of their brands, according to a leading executive from Burger King.

Fernando Machado, Burger King's svp/global brand management, discussed this subject at the Festival of Media Latin America in Miami.

And he reported that digital channels uniquely allow marketers to conduct low-cost experiments – and then put paid-media support behind the efforts gaining significant traction with consumers.

"I think we need to try different things, and not be afraid of trying. And then, when things work, then you put money [behind it]," said Machado. (For more, including details of the Big King campaign in Brazil, read Warc's exclusive report: Twenty million tattoo views burns the Big Mac in Brazil.)

"We live in a new era: it's not just TV anymore, where you had to prove everything, and then do the ROI. I know that the thing works, not because I did research, but because it did work."

One example of this idea in practice was an online video helping launch the Big King in Brazil – a clip that featured consumers with Big Mac tattoos having them converted into images of Burger King's competing sandwich.

While admitting such content may not be to everyone's taste, Machado suggested that material of this kind can supplement more functional TV ads – and, in the right context, yield deeper emotional engagement.

"I think that the risk is do the same-old, same old," he said. "I don't have to sink my money into media on that before I know it works. My media budget is much higher than my production budget.

"I think risk is to produce a 30-second TV spot that sucks. Because then we need to buy the media two or three months in advance, and we only know if it works a month later.

"Here, I know it in two hours if it's working or not, and then I can double up on the media money. The production money is really much smaller than the media."

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing brand custodians in this area, he continued, is convincing senior managers to take a chance, however moderate in form.

"It definitely takes some time on the client-side, to give the internal critic the energy and belief that doing things like this pay off, some times in the long term," said Machado.

Data sourced from Warc