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Y&R NZ boss says Burger King ‘truce’ was a ‘long shot’ but still hopeful McDonald’s will bite

Global fast food chain Burger King is claiming a temporary truce with McDonald’s after it ambushed its rival with full page ads suggesting the two giants join forces to create the ultimate hybrid hamburger – the McWhopper.

The idea for the campaign originated out of Y&R New Zealand, whose CEO Josh Moore today told Mumbrella they knew when selling the idea for the headline grabbing push that it would be a “long shot” on both sides.

“When we first tabled this idea with Burger King we knew it was a long shot – asking a global icon to take their hero product and blend it with that of their biggest competitor,” said Moore.

Overnight, two open letters from Burger King to McDonald’s ran in The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune, and the campaign has since garnered headlines in media around the world.

Burger King  said it offering an “olive branch” for Peace One day on September 21, the United Nations declared day of ceasefire and non-violence, and suggested setting up restaurant on neutral territory to serve up a fusion of the best-selling burgers, staffed by employees of both chains and open for one day only. All proceeds would go to the Peace One Day charity and get people talking about armistice.

McWhopper_Billboard_6x3_OliveBranchIn a post on McDonald’s Facebook page, CEO Steve Easterbrook said: “We love the intention but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference.”

He was also keen to quash any hype surrounding the campaign and any the olive branch Burger King extended, declaring: “Let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 11.53.32 am

Y&R managing director, Steve Kane said the idea for the great burger peace offering was designed specifically with the charity in mind and said they genuinely wanted McDonalds to join the campaign.

“It was a genuine gesture of peacemaking from Burger King and demonstrates the sentiment behind Peace One Day,” said Kane. “The idea was built around their manifesto.”

McDonald’s has since drawn social media scorn for its refusal to engage its bitter rival with one user Aaron Hair noting: “Point goes to Burger King on this one.”

FacebookThe Y&R boss said they are still holding out hope McDonald’s will change their mind and join in its campaign. Kane said: “We are optimistic they will join us. This is just the beginning of our campaign. Depending on what McDonald’s do, we have plenty of ideas and will be rolling out more as we get closer to September 21.”

McWhopperBurger King’s global agencies worked across the campaign, with Y&R in New Zealand and their partners Assembly, Fish, Liquid Studios and Resn, as well as New York counterparts Alison Brod Public Relations, Code & Theory, The David Agency, Rock Orange, Horizon and Turner Duckworth.

Fernando Machado Burger King’s senior vice president for global brand management said: “Y&R NZ brought us this audacious concept back in early 2014 and since then this project has been a true collaboration among several agencies based in different locations and our partners from Peace One Day.

“It is great to work on something that is good for the brand and has the potential to positively affect society.”

Danielle Sen

The full open letter: ANZ 0004 OpenLetter_US_A4_FA2

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