Whopper Sacrifice: Prove Your Love For The Burger King
Burger King is all about the viral kookiness these days, and their latest advertising enterprise is actually pure genius. They’ve created the “Whopper Sacrifice,” Facebook application, which will give you a coupon for a free Whopper if you delete 10 people from your Facebook friends list.
Burger King got me interested with their Whopper Virgins ads, and initially I loved this campaign because of how it seemingly makes fun of all the Facebook obsessed freaks out there. The website says: “Now is the time to put your fair-weather Web friendships to the test. Install Whopper Sacrifice on your Facebook profile, and we’ll reward you with a free flame-broiled Whopper when you sacrifice ten of your friends.” And the app actually makes each “sacrifice” show up in your activity feed for everyone to see. It says something like “Vito sacrificed Jimmy James for a free Whopper.”
But I thought about it, and wondered what BK could possibly gain from this. And then it came to me:
The Kicker: The Foot-in-the-Door
In Social Psychology, there’s a tactic called the Foot-in-the-Door (FITD) technique which involves getting a person to agree to a relatively small request first, after which they’re more likely to agree to a larger request. Basically you ask for a small yes, then you can get a bigger yes, and so on. There have been a number of studies into the effect. For example, back in the 60s, some scientists asked people to either sign a petition or place a small card in a window in their home or car about keeping California beautiful or supporting safe driving. About two weeks later, the same people were asked by a second person to put a large sign advocating safe driving in their front yard. The people who agreed to the first request were far more likely to agree to the second. This tactic works because the human brain wants to be consistent, we always strive to align our opinions with what we know we’ve said in the past. That’s why “flip-flopping” is looked down on, even though, if you think about it… changing your opinion in the face of new evidence is actually a good thing.
So what Burger King is doing here is quite genius. Even though people think it’s no big deal to drop 10 “useless” friends to pick up a 2 dollar coupon, it may actually be having an effect on them. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after this campaign comes and goes, the customers who dropped friends for the coupon were actually more likely to frequent Burger King than those who didn’t engage in the friend dropping. Psychology plays a big part in advertising, now you know.