Burger War!

This is probably one of the shadiest moment in 2016

McDonald’s threw a shade to Burger King in France. There are more than 1,000 McDonald’s drive-thru restaurants in France, while there are only less than 20 of Burger Kings restaurants in the country. McDonald use this fact to compare itself to their long-time competitor in this absurd (but yet funny) commercial:

Source: Adweek 2016

(Source: Nudd 2016)

So basically, according to McDonald’s, if you are hungry and do not have much time, McDonald’s are everywhere, they are closer to you, compare to the other burger restaurant.


Burger King do not stay silent. As the reaction of McDonald’s poster, they create the sequel of the advertisement. In a one minute and fifteen seconds commercial, we can see a young couple ordering nothing but a large coffee at McDonald’s for a long way journey to Burger King. In the end, the man says to the woman, “It wasn’t that far at all”, while eating their burgers from Burger King.

So according to Burger King, a longer distance is not a problem for a better taste. But still, Burger King is not that far at all.

The Burger War of 2016 begin…

McDonald and Burger King are well-known as long-time arch-nemesis for each other. Both are major international fast food burger franchises from the US. All this time, these two burger giants have been throwing shade at each other with comparative advertisements. Look at this picture below, for example:

(Source: Logiurato 2014)

(Source: Logiurato 2014)

So, what is comparative advertisement?

Comparative advertisement has been a subject for controversy. It defined as an advertising strategy by explicitly mention a name of competitor to make comparison and to claim superiority among competitors (Prasad 1976).

Tyler (Cited in Prasad 1966) hailed comparative advertisement as a creative weapon for communication. However, Robert (Cited in Prasad 1973) argued that comparative advertisement is noisy, unproductive and unprofessional.

On the other hand, Schwartz (Cited in Prasad 1966), take position between the pros and the cons by stating that comparative advertisement may not be effective in several conditions. It effective when the competitor leads the industry.

More interestingly, many researchers found that comparative advertisement can generate less favourable attitudes toward the advertisement than non-comparative advertisements, but generate more favourable attitudes toward the brand with comparative advertisement than the brand with non-comparative advertisement (Raju, Rajagopal and Unnava 2002).

Why is this interesting? Because marketers want an attitude toward the advertisement (A ad) be a trigger to the attitude toward the brand (A brand). But it seems like comparative advertisement can have a contrast effect.

Will the comparative advertisement post by McDonald effective?

I do not know. Not only because the effect of comparative advertisement is still controversial, but also because the effectiveness of an advertisement is depended on the goal of the advertisement. Whether it emphasizes on influencing more on cognition, affection or behaviour.

But one thing that should be noted about comparative advertisement is that it could has a boomerang effect. It happened when the comparison to the competitor, probably make the competitor stronger instead weaker.

This McDonalds’ commercial is a good example on how comparative advertisement affect to competition

McDonald’s release an advertisement to attack Burger King, but Burger King use the attack to make them stronger by releasing the sequel of the advertisement. For your information, the ad by Burger King has gone viral. It has gain over 1.3 million hits since the released.

Unless, McDonald’s can make smoother attack to turn the wide, it would be appropriate for Burger King to say “Thank you McDonald’s for being everywhere”.

So who do you think the winner in this comparative advertisement war?

Written By:

Fanaldi Fadillah Fedrizal (Student ID: 215335291)

References List:

Logiurato, B 2014, Democratic Congressman On Burger King Deal: ‘If I Were McDonald’s, I’d Launch A Buy America Campaign’, Business Insider Australia, retrieved on 4 May 2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/burger-king-inversion-deal-politics-2014-8?r=US&IR=T>.

Nudd, T 2016, McDonald’s Billboard Gives Ridiculously Lengthy Directions to a Burger King Drive-Thru Only 258 kilometers to go, Adweek, retrieved on 4 May 2016, <http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/burger-king-had-pretty-good-comeback-big-insulting-mcdonalds-billboard-169915>.

Prasad, V K 1976, ‘Communications-Effectiveness of Comparative Advertising: A Laboratory Analysis’, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 13, pp. 128-137.

Raju, S, Rajagopal, P and Unnava, H R 2002, ‘Attitude toward a Comparative Advertisement: The Role of an Endorser’, Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 29, pp. 480-481.

The Local fr 2016, Burger King vs ‘McDo’: Giants declare TV ad war in France, The Local fr, retrieved on 4 May 2016, <http://www.thelocal.fr/20160302/burger-king-trumps-mcdonalds-in-french-ad-war>.


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