The Most Bizarre Fast Food Promotion Of All Time

The world of fast food can be pretty cutthroat, and if a chain is going to stay on top of the competition, then it can't be afraid to put itself out there at times. Some marketing promotions knock it out of the park. Wendy's "Where's the beef?" campaign is the perfect example of this — although the actress eventually got fired. For all the successful fast food promotions, however, there are just as many, if not more, marketing campaigns that backfired

Burger King has done a lot of dumb things over the years, but there may be one Whopper of a weird idea that was just more bizarre than all the rest. 

Burger King sent its customers to McDonald's... on purpose

Generally, the idea of any sort of marketing promotion is to pull customers away from the competition and towards your business. Perhaps Burger King thought that was too easy, so they decided to take a bizarro approach and actually send customers to the competition (via Business Insider). 

It all went down in December of 2018 when Burger King said that it would be turning "14,000 McDonald's into Burger King restaurants." This didn't mean that Burger King went out and purchased 14,000 McDonald's stores. It was, for lack of a better term — an app attack. Customers were encouraged to download the BK app on their phone and then visit a McDonald's for an almost free Whopper. People didn't even have to actually go inside a McDonald's, but merely within 600 feet of one. 

"If a guest is inside one of these geofenced areas and has the new BK App on their device, the app will unlock the Whopper sandwich for a penny promotion," a Burger King press release read. Of course, to get that penny Whopper, the customer would have to leave the McDonald's — presumably without making a purchase — and head to the nearest Burger King. Evil? Certainly. Kind of genius? Definitely.  

The promotion didn't blow up in Burger King's face

As strange as the promotion was, it didn't completely backfire on Burger King. The restaurant's senior marketing executive, Fernando Machado, told CNN that it earned 20 times the promotions of any other Burger King app promotion and more than 50,000 people redeemed it.

Putting all your cards on technology working exactly how it's supposed to can be a risky move, and the Burger King promotion didn't go off entirely flawlessly. There were complaints on social media about glitches with the app and one unfortunate customer actually got charged not a penny but $1,000 for his Whopper (via UPI). Whoops!

Still, this was one time where thinking very outside the box paid off for Burger King.