This week, one of the world’s largest burger chains is looking to update its tagline and show its support for the LGBT community in the process. It’s a far cry from last year’s lambasting of McDonald’s; McDonald’s got raked over the coals last year as a result of its support of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Rather than continuing with its “Have it Your Way” tagline – a mainstay of the company for the last several years – the company is opting to update the tagline to “Be Your Way” and its always-popular Whopper will be wrapped in rainbow wrapping paper until July 3, and only in San Francisco.
Burger King officials filmed people along the San Francisco Pride parade route and caught their reactions when they unwrapped the brightly-wrapped Whoppers, which debuted at a San Francisco as the Proud Whopper. A film featuring their reactions will be launched on YouTube today, and also feature the message that was also put inside the wrappers: “We are all the same inside.”
It is a smart move on the international burger chain’s part; the LGBT community has roughly twice the disposable income as the rest of the American population overall. Creating an inclusive image has been proven to help other companies snag the attention of the LGBT populace, and as Burger King’s senior vice president of global brand management, Fernando Machado, puts it, the move should help the company boost international sales in that segment of the population.
It is no real surprise that Burger King, which is owned by 3G Capital, is looking to make some moves to improve its financial standings. Last year, the chain’s sales in established American chains dipped 0.9 percent. The company has been looking to update the burger chain’s image and menu in order to reach out to the younger demographic. Regardless of the reasons why the burger’s wrapping has been temporarily modified, what is clear is that the Miami-based burger chain sees inclusive strategies as good for business.
The move also makes the company the first of the fast food chains to specifically take on the politically charged issue in the US. Machado also says that the move is in keeping with Burger King’s inclusive personnel policies, which includes offering benefits to employees’ same-sex partners and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as discriminating on the basis of religion and so forth.
Regardless, the strategy should prove profitable for the company. Embracing inclusiveness is an increasingly popular move among retailers, and given the lambasting that both Coke and McDonald’s got because of their perceived support of Russia’s anti-homosexual propaganda legislation. Both Coke and McDonald’s have been open about their desire to see greater support for LGBT inclusion and for human rights as a whole.
The motivation for Burger King to offer the Proud Whopper, albeit only until tomorrow, shows the company’s desire to continue to demonstrate its support for the LGBT population beyond supporting just its employee base. The Be Your Way campaign will only help improve the company’s sales as a whole and will also continue to foster support among the LGBT sector as well.
Opinion by Christina St-Jean