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“Back by Popular Demand” Guides Burger Marketing

Whataburger today (Monday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m.) brings back for menu encores four LTOs it has introduced over the past few years. These includes three burgers—the A.1. Thick & Hearty Burger, the Whataburger Patty Melt and the Chop House Cheddar Burger—along with the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip sandwich on toast. 

The “All-Time Favorites” sandwiches come back in tandem with San Antonio-based Whataburger’s first new marketing campaign in nine years. The campaign—from McGarrah Jessee, Austin—includes documentary-style TV spots from which long-time “voice of Whataburger” William Bassett is missing. Print, outdoor and online executions complete the English-language effort, which runs in tandem with Spanish-language ads from FPO Multicultural Marketing in San Antonio. 

Whataburger announced the “most-craved sandwiches’” return on its Facebook page, explaining “You pleaded and we listened.” This “popular-demand” approach to menu development is suddenly all the rage. In the UK, for example, Burger King has brought back the popular 3 Pepper Angus burger. A TV spot from new agency CHI & Partners begins with words almost identical to Whataburger’s: “You talked. We listened.” 

McDonald’s, too, is doing “back by popular demand” menuing in Germany and Luxembourg. There, the chain is promoting a “Best of McDonald’s” menu that brings back the upscale Der M and Der M Bacon burgers along with the premium-price Chicken Mythic sandwich.

Are burger chains’ emulating the music industry’s fallback that if you don’t have new songs to release, just do a greatest-hits CD? Or is this marketing trend an outgrowth of the Age of Social Media’s emphasis on listening and building interactive brand relationships?

Burger King, meanwhile, has introduced BK Toppers, a new three-item burger line. Priced at just $1.99 each, the burgers include a Western BBQ toped with onion rings and Sweet Baby Ray’s Spicy BBQ sauce, Mushroom & Swiss with Griller sauce and a Deluxe version with its Stacker sauce. As first reported by NRN, the burgers are 3.2-ounce patties. 

Although BK Toppers aren’t returning to Burger King’s menu from the past, the chain did introduce a three-version line of “Hot Toppers” double-patty burgers in 1987.

1 comment to “Back by Popular Demand” Guides Burger Marketing

  • QSRs have learned that repeat LTOs are a easy and safe way to generate buzz when there’s no real new news — in most cases, positioning them as a response to consumer demand is simply spin — denise lee yohn

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