Shock value is the refuge of the talentless when it comes to advertising and viral marketing.
Burger King has decided to one-up Carl Jr.'s Paris Hilton raunch, by creating a series of over-the-top raunchy commercials and a website to promote a fictitious band called Coq Roq -- filled with bad double entendres. And while Carl Jr. is a small brand that can thrive by staying in the niches, Burger King needs to reach a much wider audience, including families and seniors, to stay a top fast food brand.
While teens and pre-teens are an important target for Burger King, so to are parents and seniors, who are likely to be offended by the current campaign.
A caption on one of the pictures at Burger King's CoqRoq.com website exclaimed, "Groupies love the Coq" prior to Burger King backing off and pulling the caption after a good deal of publicity. Burger King stated it was an typo (yeah, sure, from the minds that gave the world this campaign in the first place).
Is this Burger King's and its agency's definition of pushing the envelope on advertising and viral marketing? Come on. Anyone can do shock value, that's really not pushing the envelope. Go to a junior high school playground and you'll get plenty of ideas. But will shock value drive overall business up? Maybe it will get some more teens and pre-teens to Burger King, but it is going to damage the brand with other important targets, like parents and seniors.
An ad campaign that offends some of the brand's most important targets is generally a bad idea. The whole thing smacks of desperation to me. There are already enough reasons not to eat fast food, Burger King has just given many of its family targets one more reason.