Burger King’s olive branch to McDonald’s wins a big honor


Burger King’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion to McDonald’s last summer that the two giants collaborate on a limited-time “peace” burger called the McWhopper was named Tuesday night as the advertising industry’s best moment of 2015.

The stunt won its instigator, the New Zealand office of the Y&R ad agency, this year’s Grandy, the top honor in the International Andy Awards, a program that salutes groundbreaking ad and marketing efforts. The awards are presented by The Ad Club of New York.

Club CEO Gina Grillo described the print and web McWhopper campaign as “just crazy.” In ads and statements to the media, Burger King challenged its archrival to put aside mutual differences on Peace One Day, a day set by the United Nations, and show the world how enemies could work together.

It suggested the two jointly open a pop-up restaurant on Sept. 21 in a location midway between BK’s Miami offices and McDonald’s suburban Chicago headquarters. The restaurant’s signature product would be the McWhopper, a sandwich incorporating six ingredients used by each of the partners.

The restaurant would not sport the trade dress of either brand, nor the uniforms used in either. The staff would be a mix of McDonald’s and Burger King employees.

McDonald’s rebuffed the offer in jovial form, suggesting there was more that two multi-billion-dollar international companies could do to promote peace. That opened the way for several other chains to volunteer to collaborate with Burger King. Denny’s, for instance, suggested they try a mashup of Denny’s signature slam and the Whopper, and even aired such possible names as the Whamper and Slopper.

Smaller burger specialists such as Krystal, Wayback and Giraffas also offered to work with the King.

BK accepted their offers. For a day, it sold a Peace Day Burger in a single location. The sandwich incorporated elements of the five participating chains.

In presenting the Grandy, award presenters noted that BK raised awareness of its brand while also doing something for a greater good.

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