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Wil Emling

McFlop on the McWhopper but that’s Ok, I Made My Own

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September 21st, International Peace Day, it’s coming up, but prior to yesterday did you know this? Neither did I, but yesterday after Burger King executed what could arguably be one of the most brilliant marketing strategies ever, I will never forget International Peace Day. With full page ads in both The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times, plus a website and video dedicated to their pitch, Burger King suggested to McDonald’s that they merge their Whopper and the McDonald’s Big Mac for one day only.

McWhopper stop one

Dubbed the #UnthinkableBurger, Burger King proposed that these two iconic brands would set aside their differences and unite to raise awareness of International Peace Day and raise funds for the Foundation.

I’m pretty conscious of what I eat, and even though this burger would be only available in Atlanta (which was deemed to be the midway point between both brands HQ’s) I suddenly found myself wanting this proposed “Frankenburger” of sorts. I also wanted to support the cause and the gesture. Who hates international peace, right?

Burger Kind and McDonald's

Burger King’s campaign, or challenge, if you will, reminded me of a high school kid going over the top in some cutesy, elaborate and outrageous way to ask a date to prom, making the gesture unforgettable and difficult to turn down. Well that’s just what McDonald’s did. They turned Burger King down. No counter offer, no other suggestion or compromise. Instead, Steve Easterbook CEO of McDonald’s gave a vague response with a thank you but no thank you. This was not going to happen, that much was clear. Well Mr. Easterbrook you can rain on the parade, but you will not be taking this away from me. I went ahead and made my own McWhopper today.

My McWhopper

The McWhopper after a bite

I also made a donation to International Peace Day, and came to a few conclusions.

1. The Big Mac is pretty much tasteless. I have never tried a side-by-side comparison but now that I have, I’m writing off the Big Mac.

2. I also think now that since BK Lounge has brought back chicken fries Steve Easterbrook’s company might be in trouble, well beyond the 3000 some negative comments written underneath his response to the King.

3. All Burger King needs to do now is bring back Kid Vid and the Kids Club, and I think the momentum could be unstoppable.

P.S. Anybody else remember the McWorld campaign?

Is The New Logo No Logo At All?

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Coca-Cola is one of the most iconic brands and logos of all time. There is no disputing this, even when written in different languages, it is instantly recognizable across the globe. Today, after a successful, “Share a Coke,” campaign…which saw a variety of names on the packaging, I came across something I never could have imagined.


Gone were all names. Not just VIP, Showstopper, Karen, Dad, but even the name Coca-Cola itself. The names and labels were dumped about as fast as a 72-day Kardashian wedding.

Coca-Cola states it is removing names, even it’s own, in attempt to get the world to see without labels. Wow that’s deep, I mean, commendable. Then I got to thinking, wait a minute, what if a company came to me and told me they wanted a website without a logo. Would that even be possible? I’m starting to get anxious about a completely hypothetical situation but, what if?


I place blame on Pininfarina, the design firm better know for its car designs for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Fiat.

They worked with Coca-Cola to design their Freestyle soda machine. Don’t get me wrong, they did an exceptional job, even won a 2011 Good Design Award. However when you look at the sleek soda machines, they foretold of things to come in design. The Coca-Cola logo for example was placed on the sides of the machine, rather than the front. On the front, besides what I’m calling the Coca-Cola swirl, was a very, very, small logo. Interesting to compare it to the pop machines I remember back in high school, which were nothing but logo top-to-bottom.



Based on Coke’s recent bold move we wonder if logos and brands are evolving in a way that will make them minimal, clean, flat, almost secondary. The evolution of Twitter’s logo from cartoon bird to its current format is another great example. How these smaller and minimal logos will translate over to web design and its aesthetic appeal remains to be seen. I guess I shouldn’t lose any sleep over it, yet. No logo? Guess that’s not all that different when I request current digital assets and get informed there aren’t any.

Adwords New Feature, Purchases on Google

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Oh just what I wasn’t looking for…

I wasn’t in the market for a ChapStick, magazine, ginger & lemon peel flavored bottled water, or VerMint’s organic mints. Frankly I don’t need these things. Rather, I’m bored and waiting to check out at Whole Foods. As you probably know, every product in a store is carefully placed to create maximum appeal – whether it’s the sugar-laced cereal at children’s eye level or the items you find carefully staged for impulse-buys at checkout. It can be argued that the only better place to study marketing and human psychology, besides your friendly grocery store, is Vegas.

Well, let’s not rule out the digital marketplace. This marketing and psychology mindset is something that the tech giant Google knows, has studied and even excels at, but I’m losing confidence fast and here’s why.

google retail

Today Google unveiled a new feature for their mobile search ads, called Purchases on Google, allowing the consumer to purchase from ads. This feature has been a long time coming with the Wall Street Journal first reporting about it in the spring (Google even confirmed it).

So what exactly does this mean and how does it work? The mobile ads you see will have a “buy-now” button. This button will allow you to quickly purchase whatever product you’re interested in, directly from the merchant (not Google), using mobile ads.

Hmm… So let’s take a closer look at this idea. Hypothetically, I’m up north in the Boundary Waters and magically able to get a signal on my smart phone. I’m also getting eaten by mosquitos (our state bird here in Minnesota) and desperately searching for an on-the-fly (pun intended) remedy. When “auto-magically” an ad for OFF bug spray and mosquito repellent pops-up on my mobile device with a buy-now button. Great! Just what I need! (However, it’s still a little creepy that Google is using location services on my phone, coupled with my search history to serve me an ad that knows this much.) So I click on the buy-now button and what happens? The product then ships to my house in 24 hours. What good is it going to do me there?

See that’s just the thing with impulse buys; typically they take little thought and are for immediate consumption and enjoyment. I think the fear of missclicks, and the fact that drones aren’t buzzing around to deliver products instantly will keep most consumers from using this feature.



It might be a great way to get people to load up an online shopping cart but I’m very skeptical they’ll complete the purchase on their mobile device, via ad. This is very much the cart before the horse scenario; people aren’t ready just yet, like with Google Glass. At the press event held in NYC today, Google said they are working with only “a dozen” or so retailers with this feature in beta. The grand plan is to roll this out to advertisers in the United States by late 2015 or 2016.

Well Google if that’s the case, I’m expecting drones to deliver my impulse purchase in real time. As much as I would like to see that happen, I don’t think the stars will align along with the Federal regulations in time. Sorry Google, this is a great idea on paper, but in terms of execution I give it an F for now. We are a want-it-now society based on instant gratification and the buy button for impulse buy ads seems way too early. You still need to clear the hurdle of getting people to adopt Google wallet, or store their payment information in their devices. As an expert in SEM as much as I want to get excited about this, I don’t see it picking up traction prior to 2017 or 2018. Until then, I’ll keep my impulse buys in the checkout line (or eBay).