Fernando Machado on Burger King’s ‘Self-Deprecating, Fun, Crazy’ Marketing

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Burger King’s Head of Brand Marketing gets grilled on some of Burger King’s alternative (and outrageous) Cannes-winning campaigns
Fernando Machado on Burger King’s ‘Self-Deprecating, Fun, Crazy’ Marketing

Having just won Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes, Burger King is about as hot as their famous flame grill. With the industry cooing over their Grand Prix-winning ‘Google Home of the Whopper’ and ‘Flame Grilled Since 1954’ campaigns, we asked BK's Head of Brand Marketing, Fernando Machado, about some of the other seemingly impossible and brilliant advertising to grace our screens this year.

Q> It has been another successful Cannes for Burger King this year! How do you guys feel?

Fernando Machado> We are all really excited with the recognition we got from Cannes Lions. Receiving the Creative Marketer of the Year award is a dream come true to all of our marketing team. On top of that, we left Cannes with 28 Lions, which is a new record for our brand. We also got two Grands Prix with two different campaigns. It was definitely a year we will never forget.

Q> As Creative Marketer of the Year, what’s your biggest piece of advice for brands and agencies?

FM> I think the best advice we can give is for brands and agencies to work together as partners. That's our way at Burger King. We are one team. And our relationship goes beyond the typical transactional relationship. We work together on briefs, we work together to defend the ideas, and we truly have each other’s back. When you bundle that with a clear brand positioning and sharp, single-minded briefs, you dramatically increase the chances of doing great work.

Q> Burger King’s campaigns have been brilliantly disruptive. You always seem to use the press to great advantage. What’s the key to ensuring it doesn’t backfire on the brand?

FM> Our biggest fear is not having something backfire. Our biggest fear is to create something that doesn’t stand out, that doesn’t get noticed. That‘s expensive. The biggest risk is taking no risk. That's the philosophy we have when creating our campaigns. By now, it’s what people expect from us. Our fans are always looking for the next big thing from Burger King. And our campaigns tend to put a smile on people’s faces.

Q> How did you first come in to contact with production partner Crane.tv / Cult?

FM> I think our first contact was via the production team from DAVID The Agency. We are always looking for great production partners who can help bring to life our crazy ideas. And Crane.tv has proven to be capable of doing some cool stuff with us, always in a very efficient and timely way.

Q> You’ve pulled off some almost impossible stunts together with the Angriest Whopper and the Big King. Did you ever imagine you’d be cooking burgers on lava?

FM> Haha! Not really! But that's the beauty of the ideas we execute. They are always deemed to be impossible... until we execute them. Most of the ideas we fall in love with are ones we had no clue how to execute when we were first presented the concept. If you don’t know how to do something it means that it has never been done before. That excites us here at Burger King. From flame grilling burgers on the fire of a volcano to tattooing grill marks on people who have a competitor's burger tattoo. We are always looking for something new and different to help us stand out.

Q> How did the Scariest BK come about?

FM> Scariest BK is one of my favourite ideas from last year. The idea came from DAVID The Agency. We are always looking for fun ways to showcase our flame grilled difference. So, when we were close to Halloween last year, DAVID suggested we dress one of our restaurants as a competitor. We loved the idea because it is self-deprecating, fun, crazy and had never been done before. It looks like a simple idea to execute, but it actually took a lot of work to build the structure around the restaurant to pull off that stunt.

Q> What’s coming up next for Burger King? Is there anything exciting in the pipeline that you can tell us about? 

FM> You can always expect cool things coming from BK. We are always working on more than one idea at a time. It’s just a matter of prioritising and finding the best timing to land our next big thing. Stay tuned. There will be more coming!

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Categories: Fast food, Retail and Restaurants

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