Serving more than great eats: How Burger King used online video to drive sales

Prapat Siangjan / January 2020 / Video, Thailand, Success Stories

The fast food industry is a competitive space, but some brands are ahead of the curve. Here, Prapat Siangjan, general manager and executive officer at Burger King Thailand, explains how the brand localized a global strategy to connect with Thai consumers.

Burger King is in the best kind of business there is — that of keeping customers well-fed — and there are few things that bring joy like good food can. But the fast food industry in particular can also be extremely tough. Competition is quick to pop up, and consumers’ preferences change in a flash. To stay relevant, brands like ours need to keep innovating.

At Burger King, such innovation trickles down from the top. From the partnership with Uber Eats to the Whopper Detour campaign, our global team has seen a lot of success. It takes a lot of guts to execute big creative ideas like having our mascot, The King, deliver food to unsuspecting homeowners or sending BK app users to McDonald’s to unlock a one-cent Whopper. So, when it was time for our team in Thailand to execute those strategies locally, we decided to follow suit and take some creative risks. Here’s what we did.

Keeping up with Thai consumers

The steadily increasing number of fast food restaurants across Thailand has created a crowded, competitive market.1 This is especially challenging for Burger King because we only have locations in the larger metropolitan areas of Thailand.

So, when increasing competition and our own geographic limitations began to affect our in-store sales, we realized there was only one solution for us: grow our customer base within our existing locations.

Our tools for achieving this? Rice and YouTube. Rice is a national staple, and it’s regularly requested at our outlets. As for YouTube, knowing that 90% of online Thais use the channel every month,2 we knew that we had a good chance to reach our audience there. So we decided to take a calculated risk by launching our first-ever customized menu in Thailand — a rice menu in this case — and promoting it with an unprecedented YouTube-first campaign using Unskippable Labs’ best practices.

Launching an effective creative campaign

Our campaign was divided into three phases over six weeks. After learning about the benefits of audience targeting on YouTube, we served TrueView in-stream ads to different audience segments. In each phase of the campaign, we looked beyond general demographics and focused on intent to narrow our audience until we found our key group: food lovers and fast food cravers.

We created a long-form hero video, a :30 ad, and a :06 bumper. We used the long-form video in the first phase of our campaign to boost awareness and consideration among a wider audience group (e.g., media and entertainment fans). In the next two phases, we used the :30 ad and :06 bumper to remind and engage those with greater interest in fast food by serving these spots to fast food-related affinity audiences.

Each of the videos adhered to the ABCDs of Effective Creative (Attract, Brand, Connect, Direct — a guide for developing creative that boosts awareness and drives action). We included sound and close-up food shots to attract viewers, and we added the Burger King logo to make our brand easy to identify. To connect with the audience, we used Unskippable Labs’ insight that consumers would rather see the food than watch people eating it, so we focused on the voiceover rather than using talent. And finally, we included a clear call to action to direct viewers to search for nearby locations or to order online.

Launching the campaign on YouTube alone was a bold move, but one that was fueled by a real insight into Thais’ behaviors. The strategy ultimately allowed us to focus on one channel, tune out other media noise, and see the impact of our creative risk-taking at work.

Local menu options boost brand lift among Thais

We started seeing positive results early in the campaign when we conducted Brand Lift studies in the first phase to measure our success. The results of the survey showed that viewers reported a 75.2% lift in ad recall and a 19.4% lift in consideration, while the ads generated an 88% view-through-rate (VTR). And even more impressive, we saw a 12% average daily sales uplift for our new rice menu. These early results provided the momentum we needed to guide our campaign strategy for the later phases.

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By paying attention to what our audience wants and reaching them where they spend their time, we were able to boost sales and gain relevance among Thai fast food cravers. But we couldn’t have done it without following our global team’s example and taking the creative risks necessary to execute a successful digital campaign locally.

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