Drew Neisser, president of Renegade Marketing Group, sees a lot to admire in Burger King's subversive, and risky, approach. "What's really interesting to me about the Burger King campaign over the last four years is that they have made a conscious decision to really appeal to a very small segment -- 16- to 25-year-old men -- and said 'We don't care about anybody else out there in the marketing world. We only care about these guys.' "
Risky, true, but those young men are exactly who you'll find at your local Burger King wolfing down a whopper. The marketing kings call this group "Super Fans" because they are so loyal to the king, eating there an average of six times a month. Guys like Mike Bonnassar, 19, who said, "I think McDonald's is a restaurant for everybody. I think Burger King is more of a teenager kind of place."
Appealing to that young, male demographic seems to be working, and who speaks to those guys better than television's favorite glutton, Homer Simpson.
John Schaufelberger is in charge of new product development for Burger King. He took "Nightline" into the kitchen of a Burger King franchise to look at the Ultimate Double Whopper.
"This product was designed for Homer, for Homer's taste. We took a look at what we thought Homer would want, and he'd want double meat, double cheese, double bacon. … If he were to be defined, I would say he would be a Super Fan. I would say he's a heavy fast food user and a Burger King customer who really looks for great indulgent burgers like Burger King serves."
A joint marketing campaign to launch the Simpsons movie and Homer's Ultimate Whopper was launched this month -- bringing together the subversive humor of the Simpsons with the creepy King. Klein explained, "It's a great intersection for us. We know that Homer loves to eat and loves to indulge, and the whole concept behind "The Simpsons" series and now the movie has got a certain satire, a certain irony, that's quite consistent with the Burger King brand image."
To make that marriage work, Burger King turned to Crispin, Porter and Bogusky -- a Miami-based advertising agency that has made a name for itself with unconventional ideas. Rob Reilly, creative director at for the Burger King account, said that people respect the edgy ads.
He said: "I think the goal is to be different, and to provide great products and some entertainment and have some, a brand experience beyond just the products."
Different indeed. And according to Burger King, it's not paying anything to enlist Homer -- pairing America's favorite glutton with the sly, mysterious king is simply a marriage of two famous brands. A marriage made in marketing heaven.