Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery? Or Just Lame Copycatting?

By Mark Skoultchi

April 8, 2010

Have you seen Burger King’s new commercial? The one where they blatantly admit to copying McDonalds? Here, watch:

I almost didn’t believe that this was a real Burger King commercial. I thought maybe McDonald’s was lampooning BK. But no, it really is a Burger King commercial. What’s amazing is that this ad depicts their royal leader (the King) breaking and entering, stealing ideas from the market leader (McDonald’s), and then saying that BK is the same but cheaper.

Hmmm… Is this a good strategy for BK to adopt? Should they just be coming right out and admitting, “Hey, McDonald’s is the leader, the innovator, the premium choice. We’re just going to do what they do but cheaper.” I suppose that’s one way you could play the game. It seems a little incongruous for a “king” to be trying to own the “cheap” brand positioning. Not to mention that they’re relegating their brand to being simply a copycat brand. That doesn’t make me want to rush right out and place an order at Burger King.

Something to consider: McDonald’s has global annual sales of $23 billion while Burger King only squeaks out a measly $2.5 billion. Maybe in light of those statistics, it is best for BK to admit defeat and own the cheap knock-off copycat position in the market.

What do you think?

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