BK: Just not feelin' the love

What exactly is keeping Burger King from growing? BK's CMO told a Harvard group:

“When they know you more than love you.”

Russ Klein acknowledged that BK's marketing efforts have been scattershot over the past ten years, and this has harmed their image among fast food afficionados/addicts.

... Trying to discern where they fit in the fast food ecosystem, Burger King hired a cultural anthropologist to map the way... McDonalds is perceived as childhood’s oasis, ripe with playful innocence. Wendy’s is the realm of the adult, signifying quality, peace, and being cared for. So, the only place left for Burger King was surly adolescence.

The viral subservient chicken web site is one part of a larger campaign to re-establish BK as the choice of adolescents and the young-at-heart. As it rolls out, the campaign will centre on the re-introduction of the 1974 tag line "Have it your way."

... Come August, all packaging, design, and policies will reflect the “Have It Your Way” ethos, including the “No Make Fun Policy,” whereby customers will not be derided or laughed at by BK staff, no matter how weird or finicky their order.

You may also see, as a print insert or tray placemat, the “Have It Your Way Contract,” which customers will be encouraged to sign to ensure that they become empowered consumers. Drink cups and sandwich wrappers will showcase a sniglet-like glossary of terms such as “Potentater,” which is the largest french fry in the container, and “Lap Seed,” a bun seed that falls in your lap.

Despite the involvement of hot new ad agency CP+B, I don't know if these tactics will really draw BK's targeted demographic. First off, how many 18-24 year-olds really need a "have it your way contract" with their burger joint? Well, maybe anyone with a bad tofuburger experience in their past. And anyone who's used drive-thru.

As Bob Garfield observed last week:

... subservientchicken.com is also a colossal failure, because even though there is a great overlap between Web habitues and Burger King's core audience, nobody seems to have been motivated into actually purchasing a chicken product from the advertiser.

... like so much conventional advertising, it is so busy being edgy and weird and funny and subversive, it doesn't bother to put the brand on display. [CP+B] intentionally obscured the Burger King connection in order not to seem too commercial and uncool.

Like how I brought this back to my previous post about creative work?