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Battle of the Burgers Meets Battle of the Sexes

Burger King: Petite and girl-friendly.

American burger chains are trying gender-based marketing tactics as they battle for market shares in Asia. 

A Burger King in Singapore tomorrow (May 24) holds the chain’s first “Ladies Night,” featuring new BK Shots mini burgers. The pitch: “Petite and girl-friendly, it’s the burger that women have been wanting all along.” Between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. tomorrow at the ION Orchard store in Singapore, it’s buy one get one free on BK Shots, now available in onion-ring-topped Rodeo beef, Grilled Onion Beef and Spicy Chicken varieties. Price is two minis for SGD $2.50 (US $2.02). 

 TV commercials with a sultry young woman surrounded by bare-chested hunks carry the tagline, “What women want, women get.”

McDonald's: All beef; all man.

And what do men want? Beef, of course. 100% beef. And in China men can get just that McDonald’s at a discount on “Man Day.” Every Wednesday from April 27 through June 7, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., guys who are man enough to order the double-decker Big Mac or the Bacon Double Cheese can eat a second for half price. In an announcement on the McDonald’s/China website, the chain explains that there already are many celebrations for women and children, so men need one, too. It’s a macho means to build sales of beef, which has never been a top protein of choice in China.

According to my trusted associate Google Translate, that release closes with the line, “Man at McDonald’s pure men stand out!” Memorable but not as good as the translated caption for the Man Day ad shown at left. “Hundred percent pure beef, full of pure man.” This is, I trust, a loose translation.

McDonald’s last week hosted an Investor Event that focused on its growing business in China. According to a report to clients from Bank of America Merrill Lynch restaurant analyst Joseph Buckley, McDonald’s has 1,300 locations in China and is targeting expansion to 2,000 stores by the end of 2013, with 175 to 200 openings this year. He adds that the “McCafé presence will expand from 180 currently with store growth and included in many remodels. Drive-thrus remain a focus but the development of these stores is more complicated and progresses slowly. AUVs total $1.4 million with margins and cash returns from new stores in the high teens.”

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