Hey Canada, are you ready for a Whopper of a brand blitz? Burger King Canada announced this week that its “You Rule” platform is being brought north of the border as part of a major marketing push built around its flagship menu item.
The integrated campaign is being led by 15-second spot featuring the “Whopper, Whopper” ear-worm that has become a viral sensation—including generating its own Wikipedia page—since its U.S. debut in November. The spot’s popularity was buoyed by repeated appearances during NFL telecasts, leading football fans across the country to riff on its sheer ubiquity.
The sing-song refrain, which has also inspired a wave of TikTok memes, is a modern-day twist on the burger chain’s popular “Have it Your Way” jingle from the 1970s. It has proven so popular among U.S. consumers that Burger King recently created a Spotify playlist augmenting the original “Whopper Whopper” jingle with a series of short ditties that riff on the original, including “King on a Budget,” and “Chicken Chicken.”
The Whopper remains a key part of the QSR’s brand identify although it hasn’t received extensive marketing support in recent years, said general manager Matt Wright. Recent marketing, for example, has been more functional, focused on menu items like its Dill Pickle Chicken Nuggets, Jalepeño Cheddar Chicken Nuggets, and its Nashville Hot Chicken.
“In terms of marketing communications, it’s [a product] that we haven’t talked about in quite some time, so we’re excited to bring it front and centre as part of this campaign,” said Wright.
The spot was developed by O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul, the Chicago-based independent that replaced David Miami—one of the agencies behind the acclaimed “Moldy Whopper” campaign—as the QSR’s creative agency of record in April. Craft is working on PR for the Canadian market, with Horizon Media for media and OneMethod for social creative.
“You Rule” will be a “huge focus” for Burger King in Canada, said Wright. However, the company wouldn’t say if its plans in this market call for a similarly heavy sports focus, with the NFL swapped out for the NHL. In a statement to The Message, it said: “Burger King Canada has a media strategy that is specific to this market, and the ‘You Rule’ advertisements will integrate into our existing strategy.”
In addition to TV, ‘You Rule” will be promoted across digital/social, and through influencer relations, while Burger King also plans to feature it on in-restaurant. “This is an exciting time for our brand in Canada, so we’re putting a lot of focus and media attention behind [the campaign] so we can make sure we can make the message clear to our guests through whatever media channels they use,” he said.
The spot evokes the ’70s aesthetic that has been part of the Burger King brand since 2021, when it announced a new logo and colour scheme as part of its first major brand overhaul in 20 years. “Part of the inspiration for the ‘Whopper Whopper’ jingle was a natural and modern twist on the jingle we had in the ’70s,” said Wright. “We have really strong brand equity behind ‘Have it Your Way,’ so by doing this, it allows us to celebrate guests… and recognize and treat them as the royalty they are.”
The “Whopper Whopper” spot has already garnered widespread recognition in Canada as a result of U.S. spill, he said. The brand’s omnipresence on U.S. TV over the course of the NFL season is partly the result of a multi-million dollar rejuvenation program introduced last year called “Reclaim the Flame.”
Burger King pledged to invest $400 million over two years to rejuvenate the brand, which included a commitment to “increase advertising firepower” through the allocation of a $120 million ad fund.
It also said in a release that it would refresh and modernize the brand, “adding meaning and relevance to historical brand anchors like ‘Flame Grilling’ and ‘Have it Your Way’, while also introducing new brand elements to broaden its attraction for a younger and more diverse base of guests.”
While “Reclaim the Flame” is a U.S.-focused initiative, Wright said that its implementation has led to an increased ad presence in border cities, which spilled over into nearly Canadian markets. “A big part of [the program] is increased media investment on the U.S. business, and we’re fortunate to have some of the spillover media that comes from the U.S., mostly through live sports,” he said.