McDonald’s Rejects ‘Cease-Fire’ in Burger Wars

Burger King's proposed "McWhopper" creates an awkward public relations moment in the competition for fast food customers.

McDonald’s Rejects ‘Cease-Fire’ in Burger Wars Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia

It’s bad news for fast food junkies and peace lovers everywhere: McDonald’s has snubbed Burger King’s proposal to create a McWhopper mashup that would promote global Peace Day on Sept. 21.

In what it called an “open letter” to McDonald’s, which was run in full-page ads in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, Burger King presented its idea to “call a cease-fire on these so-called ‘burger wars'” by combining the two chains’ iconic Big Mac and Whopper sandwiches to “get the world talking about Peace Day,” The Toronto Star reports.

The plan was to sell the McWhopper mashup Sept. 21 at a pop-up restaurant in Atlanta, which is halfway between BK’s Miami headquarters and Illinois-based Mickey D’s.

But McDonald’s was quick to nix the idea.

“We love the intention but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook wrote on Facebook. “And every day, let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”

Burger King’s proposal was a smart move by the fast-food chain, according to Dan Azzaro, senior lecturer in the advertising program at DePaul University College of Communication. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he said:

“It’s a great move by Burger King. It’s a win-win for them. You can’t lose,” Azzaro said. “It’s all about ‘How do you agitate the giant?'”

Azzaro added that Easterbrook’s response to Burger King was “very corporate” and “kind of cold.”

Doug Fisher, president of Toronto-based food service consultancy FHG International, told The Star that McDonald’s was right to refuse Burger King’s proposal, noting that the two burger chains have entirely different ways of cooking their hamburger patties.

“It sounds like a PR thing. I don’t think you can do it, anyways,” Fisher said. “Why would McDonald’s want someone else’s meat in their bun?”

Despite McDonald’s putting the kibosh on Burger King’s proposal, Jeremy Gilley, founder of the British nonprofit Peace One Day, which promotes the annual Peace Day, said he’s thrilled that Americans are talking about the McWhopper mashup and the peace day event.

“Here’s a day of peace being talked about because a corporation made a move,” Gilley said. “That can only be a good thing.”

What do you think of Burger King’s proposal? Was it a real effort to promote Peace Day or simply a brilliant marketing move? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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