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Work of the Week- Philly Cheese King


Burger King has been killing it lately with their advertisements, which is difficult to do in their field. BK is stuck between a rock and a hard place, always left in the shadow of the industry giant McDonalds and forced to fend for themselves in the ultra competitive fast food market. There's only so many patties you can add to a burger to differentiate yourself from your competitors. So, in order to push themselves to the next level, Burger King decided to make their own take of the famous Philly Cheesesteak.

While Philly may be the city of brotherly love, they're not always known to be the most welcoming group of people. Philadelphians once threw snowballs at Santa Clause during an Eagles Game (really). Their rallying cry after winning this year's Super Bowl was "No one likes us, no one likes us, no one likes us! We don't care!" and then a few exploitives (see for yourself). Philadelphians are very opinionated people. No one else can do what they do better than them. So choosing to imitate a Philadelphia classic is a very bold choice on BK's part. Philly doesn't take too kindly to imposters, which I'm sure BK knew before creating this campaign.

The first thought I had when I saw the name of this ad, was "No way, I'm sure Philadelphians hate that" and that's exactly what Burger King wanted me to think. Everyone knows the best cheesesteaks come from Philly. BK had the insight that consumers would never agree to eat a Cheesesteak if it didn't have the Philadelphian stamp of approval. So they had to do the impossible. They had to make a cheesesteak that Philadelphians would eat. And in their advertising, they had to show the world that they made a Cheesesteak that Philadelphians would eat.

So their objective with this campaign was clear, capture Philadelphians eating their burger, actually enjoying it. Which is exactly what they did with this POV on the street commercial. They captured the absolute essence of Philadelphians, blind confidence that their city is the best. It’s known for the cheesesteak, so obviously Burger King’s burger isn’t going to be better. And while no one would admit or even suggest that BK’s sandwich was better, it was undeniably good which is no small feat.

Outside of targeting Philadelphians, or those from outside of Philly area, it was a little bit difficult for me to determine who the target audience of this ad would be. Burger King is an international brand, with consumers of all ages. Recently in their advertising, Burger King has been targeting the college age/young professional audience; with campaigns about net neutrality education and general internet trolling attitude. It’s likely that this spot could also work with that audience. It could also be that this spot would only work after The Eagles Super Bowl win at the beginning of this year. Many more consumers that wouldn’t necessarily be educated about Philadelphia culture were more exposed to it. Allowing this sandwich choice to be more resonant with more people. Otherwise, it might be resonant with people from cities all over the US, wondering if a big fast food chain could possibly make their city’s favorite dish.

Regardless of the intended audience, Burger King found some great success with this hilarious spot that does exactly what they needed it to do.