Burger King Offers ‘Autopilot Whopper’ Promo After a Tesla Confused BK Logo for a Stop Sign

The brand says your car might know best

If your smart car is headed to BK anyway, you might as well get a free Whopper. Burger King
Headshot of T.L. Stanley

Burger King’s marketing team never misses a chance to jump on a hot trend, especially in technology.

Case in point: The brand is launching a Whopper giveaway linked to automotive artificial intelligence, which “knows what you crave,” according to BK’s new ad campaign launching today and coming on the heels of the restaurant’s recent dance-based promo  with TikTok, the wildly popular social media platform of the moment.

The promotion is based on a video, reportedly real and seems to have been shot from behind the wheel of a Tesla, showing the car’s self-driving navigational system confusing a Burger King sign for a stop sign. (A quick Google reveals no other examples of this phenomenon.) Burger King has not named the car brand in the video, and disclosure copy at the bottom of the ad states that “map displayed does not reflect actual map in vehicle.

The lesson here? “Smart cars are smart enough to brake for a Whopper.” While most drivers might understandably consider that a design flaw, BK calls it kismet.

To collect the free Whopper, via the BK app, consumers will need to test out this quirk of technology by driving to a BK in their smart cars and sharing a picture or video of their dashboards with the hashtags #FreeWhopper and #AutopilotWhopper.

For a campaign that’s so zeitgeisty, there’s no explanation from the brand on the head-scratching use of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite as its soundtrack.

The brand did not release detailed agency credits for the campaign, but listed the creators as Publicis Latvia and MullenLowe U.S.

BK, which loves its high-visibility promos, has been an aggressive marketer during the coronavirus pandemic, offering free Whoppers to students who could answer math, science and literature questions and coining a phrase, “couch potatriots,” for quarantined fans who stayed on the sofa and ordered delivery (fees were waived).

The brand, latching onto buzzworthy trends, rolled out its fake sausage breakfast sandwich, the Impossible Croissan’wich, to all its locations nationally last week, following in the footsteps of its massively successful 2019 Impossible Whopper debut.

The recent TikTok promo, a 2020 version of singing for your supper, premiered as the decorated Moldy Whopper, showing off the brand’s no-preservative promise, snagged a healthy number of industry awards.

Burger King has also poked some fun at artificial intelligence previously. In 2018, the brand and agency David Miami ran a series of ads supposedly (but not really) written by an AI, resulting in lines like “Tastes like bird.”

Burger King North America
President: Chris Finazzo
Head of marketing, North America: Renato Rossi
Director, Media and Social Channels: Jorge Luiz R. Oliveira
Social media digital marketing: Flavia Guetter
Senior analyst, media: Rebecca Richardson
Director of marketing communications: Rogelio Magana
Manager, advertising: Rachel Williams
Manager, mobile app: Preston Nix
Head of marketing field: Maria Posada
Burger King Global
Marketing officer and global chief: Fernando Machado
Head of global marketing: Diego Suarez
Agency credits:
Publicis Latvia ECD: Andrey Tyukavkin
MullenLowe U.S.
Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino 
Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist 
SVP, Creative Director: Enrique Camacho 
Associate Creative Director: Marco Martins 
Associate Creative Director: Renato Barreto 
Associate Creative Director: Marcelo Maciel 
Copywriter: Vanessa deBeaumont 
Content Producer: Maurice Loach  
Content Producer: Kate Kesslering  
Animator / Editor: Ryan Dight 
SVP, Group Strategy Director: Mike Cassell 
Social Content Writer: Arielle Mulgrew 
Business Affairs Manager: Amy Keddy 
Project Management Supervisor: Nicole Capone  
Account Director: Alison Whisenant 
Account Executive: Caroline Bailey 
Layout Artist: Erinn Scammon  

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@TLStanleyLA terry.stanley@adweek.com T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.
Publish date: June 23, 2020 https://stage.adweek.com/brand-marketing/burger-king-offers-autopilot-whopper-promo-after-a-tesla-confused-bk-logo-for-a-stop-sign/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT