Burger King’s values nothing burger

“Women belong in the kitchen”

That’s the tweet Burger King decided to use as part of an International Women’s Day campaign. The QSR chain’s full campaign was meant to draw attention to a lack of women in chef positions. What that single tweet did was draw attention to a Brand fumbling badly in an attempt to interject its own point of view into an important societal cause. 

There’s a lot of social momentum pushing companies to stand up and speak out for values that matter to people. In recent Vrity research, 54% of people said brands should stand for something, even if they don’t agree with it. The opportunity for brand growth only grows when they support causes that align with their customers. 

So, how did a brand like Burger King miss so badly? Any examination has to include the creative process and media execution. It should also include what role Burger King hopes to play in the consumer conscious. 

Calling attention to a shortage of female chefs and investing in a scholarship fund is worthy. The money will make a difference and the call to action could have been valuable if it wasn’t so poorly messaged. But, there’s one more problem with this attempt to take a stand. 

In our Values Return Index, a data measurement system that scores brand values for financial impact on the business, equality is a brand value with negative equity for Burger King. 

The “good news” if you are Burger King is that your customers don’t see you as holding equality as an important value. So, the people you offended are unlikely to be current or future customers. It’s a stretch to call that good news but that’s the reality of the values people see in Burger King.

The brand and its agency partners likely saw an opportunity to interject themselves in a moment and be relevant. They failed, in part, because this is not a value they consistently live so when the moment arrived they showed that it was more than they could handle.

Brands increasingly want to step into movements to match the desire of customers to represent values. Too often, they try too hard or fail to meet those movements in the proper place. Understanding the values consumers see in your brand can be a guide for where to thrive and where work must be done.