Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

BUUURN! Find out how the KING used a new technology to set its rival to flames in 2019! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

May 5, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson:

Are you looking for unconventional marketing strategies to promote your brand and interact with your target market? 

If so, we have a recommendation for you: Guerrilla Marketing! 

As a business builder and leader, I’ve seen how this marketing strategy works wonders for a brand, especially when executed properly. 

Check out today’s example of a clever guerrilla marketing tactic! 

This is how one fast food brand attracted the attention of consumers worldwide and introduced a new type of technology that revolutionized the future of marketing. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Augmented reality (AR) is transforming advertising into an interactive experience. 

Through this, consumers can view an extra dimension of the marketing world through their smartphones. 

In fact, many marketers across the world are seizing the opportunity to integrate AR technology into their brands’ promotional efforts. How? 

By creating clever and engaging content that captivates consumers, compels them to interact with a particular marketing strategy, or addresses a particular need or want! 

Here’s one brand that leveraged this cutting-edge technology in its guerrilla marketing campaign in March 2019:

Burger King

Photo from CNN 

Burger King is one of the Big 3 burger chains in the US. It has 18,000+ branches in over 100 countries, and serves up to 11 million customers every day. 

As the “King” of burgers and Whoppers, Burger King is known to create clever and cheeky guerrilla marketing campaigns that often hype up its customers and target its rivals. We talked about the fast food chain in two of our past “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing” articles: 

Today, we’ll feature another one of the brand’s recent marketing tactics: 

The “Burn That Ad” campaign

Conceptualized with the help of Brazilian marketing agency David SP, the marketing campaign’s goal was to promote BK Express, the fast food brand’s new tool that allows customers to pre-order online and avoid long lines at physical stores. 

Here’s how Burger King cleverly introduced the new app to its target market in 2019: 

In Brazil, the brand’s biggest competitor—the one with the clown mascot—invests 4 times more money in advertising. Its ads are literally everywhere! 

So, to prove that brands don’t necessarily have to spend such a HUGE amount of money all the time to capture consumers attention, Burger King did what it does best: 

It literally “flame-grilled” its rival! 


Using AR technology in its “Burn That Ad” campaign, Burger King let customers burn its rival’s ads—in augmented reality—and turn them into the “King’s” ads. All customers had to do was open the BK Express app on their smartphones and point their cameras at the rival’s ads. 

The app had an added AR feature that recognized its competitor’s ads and burned them down. Once the flames burned away, customers were left with a screen image that told them they received a free Whopper coupon. 

In case you’re wondering about the scope of the “Burn That Ad” campaign… 

The AR feature in the app worked on ANY type of ad from Burger King’s rival. Whether it was an outdoor ad, social media post, Google image search, indoor post, paper tray, or coupon, users burned those ads with their smartphones. 

What an incredible strategy to hype up Burger King’s customers! 

The excitement this campaign fostered and the knowledge that there was a reward at the end of the act encouraged more Brazilians to download the Burger King app, join in on the fun, and burn the brand’s rival’s ads! 

The guerrilla marketing campaign lasted for 3 months in Brazil—March, April, and May 2019. 

Was Burger King’s “Burn That Ad” campaign effective? 

Using new technology for its guerrilla marketing strategy was a genius move by Burger King as it transformed competing ads into an ad for itself. 

As Ariel Grunkraut, Burger King’s Marketing and Sales Director for Brazil, said: 

“Technology as a means to provide the best customer experience is one of our main investment targets in 2019. To create the BK Express experience, our exclusive payment technology via mobile phone available all around Brazil, we offer some fun interaction in augmented reality for our brand’s lovers through the app. Those using the service also get a free Whopper.” 

These were the results of Burger King’s “Burn That Ad” campaign: 

  • Over 400,000 rival ads were burned using the app by the end of the campaign. 
  • The BK Express app became the most downloaded app in Brazil during March, April, and May 2019. 
  • Burger King Brazil’s in-app sales increased by 55% during the campaign. 
  • The “Burn That Ad” campaign garnered around 1 billion media impressions. 
  • About 1.5 million free Whoppers were distributed during the campaign. 
  • The brand activation was featured in published articles from various websites such as AdWeek, Medium, The Drum, AdAge, Reddit, People, PCWorld, and more. 
  • The campaign became a major hit worldwide and it earned the Grand Prix of WAVE Festival under the Mobile category, 9 Cannes Lions Awards, and 3 CLIO Awards—all in 2019. 

Clearly, these numbers and awards show the effectiveness of the “Burn That Ad” campaign in connecting with its target audience and making Burger King stand out from the competition. 

Congrats, Burger King and David SP! 


Burger King has cultivated a reputation for creating boundary-pushing ad strategies. As for utilizing AR technology for its “Burn That Ad” campaign… 

The brand’s cleverness in using new technology went beyond using its rival’s ads against itself. The campaign also integrated Burger King’s selling point of flame-grilling its burgers through the metaphor of flame-grilling a competitor’s marketing collaterals. 

What’s more? 

The BK Express app also included a payment feature that automatically placed the free Whopper coupon in a user’s cart! This was ingenious because: 

  • It took a user’s experience and turned it into a customer’s experience. 
  • It drew people into placing additional orders. Many of those who received the free Whopper coupon probably added sides or any other meal to complement Burger King’s flagship product. 
  • It introduced Burger King’s mobile and online ordering system to new users. 

These attributes, coupled with engaging experience and content, left a positive, lasting brand recall on customers. 

Get inspired with Burger King’s “Burn That Ad” campaign! 

Remember: In today’s digital world, you have to take advantage of various technological advancements to level up your marketing efforts. This will not only enable you and your brand to thrive amid the changes in the business landscape but also help you appeal to and reach more consumers around the world. 

Have fun planning and strategizing your own “hot” and captivating guerrilla marketing campaigns! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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