Burger King is striving to convey brand boldness by bringing back its once-dethroned mascot, the King.
The mascot returned Monday in a commercial to promote the chain’s $1.49 Chicken Nuggets, his first ad appearance in more than four years. The chain had retired the King in 2011, reportedly in favor of ads highlighting the freshness of Burger King’s ingredients.
At the time, at least one Burger King executive seemed jaded by the mascot’s impact on the brand. “People want a reason to return to Burger King,” Alex Macedo, the chain’s then-SVP of marketing, told USA Today. “There are no plans to bring the King back anytime soon.”
Now, however, the chain is rallying behind the plastic-faced mascot, which some critics and consumers had famously described as “creepy.”
"The King has been breaking status quo for decades and has earned his space in pop culture,” Burger King CMO Eric Hirschhorn told AdFreak. “He conveys the confident and bold spirit of the Burger King brand, which you can see comes to life in everything we do."
Last year, Burger King regained its place as the nation’s No. 2 fast-food hamburger chain, a rank it lost to Wendy’s in 2013 after holding second-place status for more than four decades, according to research company Technomic.
The King’s comeback closely follows KFC’s revival of its longstanding brand mascot, Colonel Sanders, and McDonald’s rebranding of its classic Hamburglar character.