Burger King’s controversial Moldy Whopper campaign was certainly eye-catching and received a mixed reception from industry observers, but the company’s CMO has unveiled some hard statistics to highlight the campaign’s success.

Writing for Adweek, Fernando Machado stated that the campaign was not about driving short-term sales, but rather to ensure Burger King’s decision to remove artificial preservatives from its food became “top-of-mind” for consumers.

Another key objective was to “future-proof” the brand in preparation for changed consumer perceptions about “fast food” restaurants over the next few years.

The campaign, which featured a time-lapse video showing a Whopper going off to showcase Burger King’s new preservative-free policy for its signature burger, achieved some impressive results.

According to Machado, the campaign has achieved around 8.4 billion organic media impressions so far and the great majority of reported articles (88%) were either positive (19%) or neutral (69%).

But even the negative ones (13%) were likely to have skewed that way because of the algorithms used to monitor sentiment – after all, words like “moldy” are less likely to generate positive categorisation.

Elsewhere, the Moldy Whopper video was watched for a total of almost 1.4 million minutes on Facebook, with 39% of viewers watching the full 45 seconds.

And Facebook-owned Instagram delivered a strong performance as well, with the in-feed photo exceeding the engagement rate benchmark by 27%.

Meanwhile, the campaign tweet exceeded the organic benchmark engagement rate by 159% and the organic benchmark video view county by 187%.

Parallel research with research firm YouGov also revealed that the Moldy Whopper campaign reached a level of awareness 50% higher even than Burger King’s 2019 Super Bowl campaign, which Machado said was the most discussed of all the Super Bowl campaigns last year.

He reiterated that driving short-term sales was not the main point of the campaign, yet even by this measure the YouGov research of more than 2,000 consumers found that “consideration to visitation” rates increased by 22.8% - a finding that Machado described as “truly remarkable”.

“Sometimes, BK ideas get so much traction that, even when their main objective was not to drive short term sales, we end up seeing an increase in visitation,” he said. “In a category which is so promotionally driven, raising ‘top of mind’ a little bit can have a positive impact on visitation and thus sales.”

Sourced from Adweek; additional content by WARC staff