Fast food chain Burger King Corp. said it plans to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its Whopper burger with an online promotional deal in conjunction with New York-based media conglomerate AOL Time Warner.
The promotion, based conceptually on sponsored survey findings that the Whopper is America’s favorite burger, will give away electronic coupons for a free slice of apple pie to users of AOL’s America Online service and its other online brands.
The printable coupons are redeemable with the purchase of a Whopper Value Meal in the U.S., and are good only through Tuesday.
Ads promoting the offer will run on several areas on the America Online service, such as its Men’s Channel and Women’s Channel. The advertisements also will run on the AOL-owned CompuServe service, and on its Netscape.com portal. Furthermore, Web properties associated with AOL’s offline brands — like Entertainment Weekly‘s EW.com and CNNsi.com — also will run the promotion.
The promotion which began Monday, comes as part of a larger multi-year, multi-million dollar strategic alliance struck in November between AOL Time Warner and Miami-based Burger King, the second-largest fast food player in the U.S. and a unit of British food and beverage giant Diageo.
“This special offer is a great way for us to thank the loyal Whopper customers who have helped make the Whopper the most preferred hamburger in America,” said Chris Clouser, executive vice president and chief global marketing officer for Burger King. “It also demonstrates the type of special offers we will be able to make to our customers through our strategic alliances with such companies as AOL Time Warner in the future.”
That promotional agreement with AOL and the company’s new marketing effort come at an important time for Burger King, which is losing market share to rival fast food chains McDonalds Corp.
The company is also aiming to improve its market position as Diageo prepares to spin it off into an independent entity.
Burger King also said that the Whopper promotional deal typifies its recent aggressive efforts in Internet marketing. The company is running an online loyalty program in Erie, Penn. and Albany, through which “frequent eaters” would be rewarded with points redeemable for gifts like Palm
PDAs and vacations. Since the BK Rewards program’s launch in late February, the fast food company said more than 1,000 users had registered to participate on Burger King’s Web site.
A week ago, the company also debuted a new Web site design, with exclusive content and information on contests.