Burger King Uses Urban Legend of Bloody Mary to Troll McDonald’s
Burger King vs McDonald's is one of the more iconic battles in pop culture. Put it right up there with Pepsi vs Coke and Letterman vs Leno. The latest skirmish in the burger wars took a decidedly paranormal turn when Burger King took inspiration from the urban legend of Bloody Mary to take shots at its rival.
The advertising comes from Sweden and plays off of McDonald's putting the Ronald McDonald character to rest.
The commercial opens with the notice that "4 years ago, a particular clown was abruptly cancelled by his employer."
Burger King patrons are then shown staring into a restaurant bathroom mirror chanting 'Cancelled Clown' three times like the Bloody Mary summoning.
After the ritual, the spot breaks into Blair Witch-style found footage of smart-phone camera footage of terrified patrons and ends on security camera footage of someone leaving the bathroom with a creepy clown eerily staring at them, the summoning of "Ronald" apparently successful.
AdWeek covered the marketing and reports:
The fast-food chain has installed voice recognition and two-way smart mirrors across a selection of its restaurant restrooms in Sweden and Denmark, and is daring people to say “canceled clown” aloud three times—in a thinly veiled dig at McDonald’s having scaled back the role of its famous mascot a few years ago.
After the smart mirror detects the phrase being repeated, the clown is summoned. The restroom lights dramatically cut out as visual and sound effects make a pretty scary Ronald McDonald-inspired phantom appear in the mirror....
Daniel Schröder, marketing director at Burger King Sweden, said: “The clown doesn’t seem to be happy with the way things ended. But we hope he finds his peace and can move on to bigger and better things.”
This isn't the first time Burger King has used a creepy clown in its advertising as a shot at MickyD's. This spot was produced for the United Kingdom market in 2017:
Those of us in North America won't likely see this creepy clown advertising, BK came up with a unique Halloween promotion for the States by luring customers to abandoned restaurants in select locations for free Whoppers.