24 Oct, 2017

The War Between Wendy’s And Burger King Teaches Marketers To Pay Attention


Social media has given brands the chance to declare a different kind of war among each other. This war does not involve firearms, but instead, 140 characters and some visual components. As brands use social media more than ever, it is giving them the chance to pay attention to their competition’s marketing campaigns, business operations, and even better, how their fans react to them.

Take Wendy’s and Burger King, for example. This month, popular fast food chain Wendy’s announced that spicy chicken nuggets will be removed from its menu. This resulted in an outrage, as you can imagine, among customers, and they were not shy about expressing their disdain with Wendy’s through strongly worded tweets.

To Wendy’s disadvantage, their major competitor, Burger King, was paying attention to the backlash of tweets that followed after Wendy’s business decision was made. And like any tough competitor in the war of social media marketing, they formulated campaigns around Wendy’s move.

Burger King leveraged Wendy’s downfall by promoting all the tweets that complained about Wendy’s nugget removal. This shifted the attention towards Burger King, by also being on top of the news surrounding Wendy’s shortcomings.

“Promoted tweets are typically used by companies to advertise their own products, not point out shortcomings of the competition. It’s quite an innovation by Burger King, and it seems safe bet others will use this idea in the future.” Eater reports.

But the war did not stop there.

Burger King then released spicy nuggets on their menu and offered a day that would give away the nuggets to customers only named Wendy. All the Wendy’s in New York, LA, and Miami would have to show a valid ID in order to claim the nuggets that have caused this uproar to begin.

Genius? Some may say maybe. Or it can be seen as an organization using its resources to the best of its potential. Burger King paid attention its competitor’s audience in order to conduct a smart marketing campaign that ultimately created success for its brand, over Wendy’s.

Burger King’s marketing team thought on their feet, got creative quickly, and were able to dominate a situation that started off as a simple business move for Wendy’s that ended up being a shortcoming.

This is not the first time this rivalry has come to the forefront of social media. Just last year, Burger King responded to one of Wendy’s tweets by explaining that their deals (you get 5 pieces of food instead of 4) are better than what Wendy’s was offering. Wendy’s then responded to a fan stating they have edible food, and Burger King does not. The Twitter world exploded once again.

How Can Marketers Respond To Competition?

The main takeaway that brands can learn from the rivalry between Wendy’s and Burger King has everything to do with paying attention and being aware, especially on social media. Sure, you can produce a series of great tweets that match your campaign to perfection, but if your competition fires back, you are vulnerable to losing your audience.

In order to stay on top of the competition, you must be aware of who is responding to you, and what their reaction is. If Burger King was not paying attention to Wendy’s audience, they would have missed out on an opportunity to promote their own products.

When brands start to use social media to their advantage, and the large audience base that follows, marketing campaigns can be more personalized and can target the competition more effectively than ever. Twitter, for instance, gives brands a chance to be creative, reactive and vocal when necessary.

The competition between Wendy’s and Burger King started out as a rivalry and is now on the world’s stage, entertaining customers and creating conversation. Isn’t that always the end goal?

This time around, Burger King proved they were paying attention, in order to position themselves to appear better than their competition, right into the eyes of Wendy’s audience (and their taste buds).


Application for the 2nd annual edition of Transformational CMO 2017 is now open. Join us at the Four Seasons Hotel, Denver, CO on November 8-9, 2017 for a unique event.

Limited sponsorship opportunities are available. Download the Transformational CMO Sponsorship Prospectus for more information >>

Our agendas and attendee lists are restricted to event attendees only. Apply today for access!



Trackback URL: https://mill-all.com/blog/2017/10/24/wendys-and-burger-king-teaches-marketers-to-pay-attention/trackback/