Burger King’s counter-intuitive ‘Moldy Whopper’ campaign has divided opinion but CMO Fernando Machado is convinced that consumers understand it and that the brand is on the right track.

“In terms of advertising, my experience is the worst that can happen is nothing,” Machado told this week’s Under the Spotlight event organised by The Marketing Society in New York.

“And nothing tends to be the most common outcome of most marketing campaigns anyway, you so may as well try and do something different,” he said.

And the brand’s latest campaign is certainly different – showing its iconic burger being built and then slowly degenerating in a 34-day time-lapse sequence until it is covered in a layer of furry bluish fungus.

By driving conversations among increasingly health-conscious consumers (and attracting coverage from story-hungry journalists), the brand hoped this ad would spread the word about its differentiating freshness – all with the type of visuals that are more usually dedicated to shots of menu items in pristine, mouth-watering condition.

Machado is playing a long game here. He admits there’s no guarantee of an immediate spike in demand through emphasizing food quality, but over time the expectation is that consumers will remember that Burger King’s food is “clean” and preservative-free.

“And they’ll probably forget the image of the moldy burger – which we’ve done in a super-tasteful way, in my opinion,” he added. (For more, read WARC’s report: Fernando Machado: Why Burger King’s “Moldy Whopper” is a strategy, not a stunt.)

And the initial evidence he’s getting supports that assertion. “When we look at our sentiment, ‘Moldy’ is 88% positive positive/neutral and 12% negative,” he said. “That’s better than most of our campaigns.”

And the social media feedback is similar. “When you go on YouTube and you see the proportion of ‘likes ‘’and ‘dislikes’, last time I checked, it was 90% likes, 10% dislikes.

“People got the message.”

Sourced from WARC