Industry News | February 28, 2002

The Whopper Turns 45

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The Whopper celebrates its 45th anniversary on Monday, March fourth. Burger King Corporation and its franchisees say they will mark the anniversary by introducing fourteen new products, several new promotions, new anniversary advertising featuring Shaquille O'Neal, and a new tagline, “@ BK ... You Got It!'' The company revealed its plans as part of a media conference at its Miami headquarters.

“The Whopper sandwich is the hallmark of our brand and one of our strategic assets,'' said John H. Dasburg, chairman, CEO, and president of Burger King Corporation. “We want to satisfy the millions of Whopper fans everyday. Each and every Whopper is made with fresh red ripe tomatoes, fresh crisp lettuce, old-fashioned dill pickles, and quality mayonnaise.

“As an expression of the pride we take in every Whopper, we are wrapping each one in a special new anniversary gold foil that also helps to keep the burger extra hot, fresh, and juicy,'' Dasburg said.

Burger King Corporation introduced the Whopper at the first Burger King restaurant in Miami in 1957 and immediately erected a sign proclaiming the restaurant the “Home of the Whopper.'' Today, Burger King restaurants sell more than 4.5 million Whopper sandwiches around the world each day.

Burger King Launches 14 New Products and New Advertising

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Whopper, Burger King is unveiling fourteen new products, new advertising, and a new tagline: “@ BK ... You Got It!''

“@ BK ... You Got It!'' reinforces our 'Have it Your Way' heritage,” says Christopher E. Clouser, executive vice president and chief global marketing officer. ''It commits to our customers that at Burger King, it's always your food, your experience, your way.”

The first television advertisement in the series features Shaquille O'Neal as he walks through the last forty-five years on his way to get a Whopper. The ad, which breaks this Sunday, March 3rd, will be the first to use the new tagline and will introduce a new Burger King song.

Other advertisements scheduled to air in early March include “3-D Whopper'' in which a 1950s theater audience wearing 3-D glasses is enticed by an enormous Whopper flying over their heads. An ad called “Space'' works on the premise that all broadcasts continue into space indefinitely. As a space ship travels past planets, stars and nebula, we hear various reminders of past Burger King commercials. The music makes the crew hungry for a Whopper sandwich and they return to earth at warp speed to a Burger King restaurant.

Burger King Corporation plans additional television, print, and radio advertising and sponsorships to feature Burger King people and the new and improved products over the next several months.

The new products include the BK Veggie Burger, the first veggie burger to be offered nationally, which will debut March 18th, and a new flame-broiled chicken sandwich as the first-ever line extension for the Whopper sandwich. The Chicken Whopper will be a large flame-broiled chicken breast sandwich.

Also in June, Burger King Corporation will add two BK Back Porch Grillers, a brand new line of premium hamburger sandwiches. “The BK Back Porch Grillers taste like a burger you would make in your own backyard,'' Clouser said.

Other products already in restaurants include the King Supreme with two patties and a special sauce created to enhance the flavor of the flame broiling, a BK 1/4 lb. Burger, new onion rings with a zesty dipping sauce, a line of Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shakes, and a new Egg’wich breakfast sandwich. On March 18th, Burger King Corporation will add a Hot Fudge Brownie Royale and chocolate chip cookies to its menu. In April, Shake ‘em Up fries, in which the customer adds cheese seasoning to a bag of fries and shakes to coat each fry, will be added.

Burger King Corporation celebrates the Whopper Anniversary in Miami and New York

Burger King Corporation will hold an anniversary celebration at Burger King restaurant number one, near the site of the first Burger King restaurant in Miami and the location where the first Whopper was created. Nancy McLamore, wife of co-founder the late Jim McLamore, and David Edgerton, co-founder, will join John Dasburg at the event. Immediately following the celebration, members of BK Cares, a group of Burger King Corporation employees who volunteer their time to improving the community, will make and serve 1,500 to 2,000 Whopper sandwiches at Camillus House, Miami's homeless shelter.

Burger King Corporation and its local Miami franchisees will also offer a special coupon in The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald good for a 10 percent discount on purchases made on the anniversary date of March fourth at participating Burger King restaurants in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Burger King Corporation will also offer a special key lime flavored Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shake available only on March fourth at Burger King restaurant number one.

In New York City, Burger King Corporation will erect its “Whopper Mountain'' in Grand Central Station and challenge anyone to climb to the top. The twenty-six-foot high Whopper replica is outfitted for safe climbing. Clouser said selected climbers who reaches the top of Whopper Mountain will be awarded free Whopper sandwiches for a year.

Members of the Harlem Globetrotters will be on hand to celebrate the anniversary in New York. Also during the day, Burger King Corporation and its franchisees and employees will deliver coupons for free Whopper sandwiches to all of the New York area firemen and policemen in recognition of their valuable community service.

New Leadership Team to set Burger King on a new course

Since joining Burger King Corporation last April from Northwest Airlines, John Dasburg has assembled a new leadership team, which has developed a new strategic direction for the company.

“Our strategy is straight-forward. Allocate our resources to deliver our 'Customer Promise,' 'Burger King is flame-broiled burgers, fries and soft drinks, at a good value served quickly and consistently by friendly people in clean surroundings','' Dasburg said.

For sixty days beginning March fourth, crews in Burger King restaurants will sport a new uniform comprised of an apron and a special anniversary shirt.

Burger King Corporation has also completed a series of strategic alliances with brands such as AOL/Time Warner, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, and eBay. For example, Burger King, in partnership with eBay, has developed the first online points based loyalty program in the industry that will reward Burger King customers with a variety of rewards for their Burger King purchases.

This BK “frequent eater” program will roll out nationally in the near future, Clouser said.

Earlier this week, Burger King Corporation launched a new feature-packed web site that will allow Burger King to offer its customers additional entertainment opportunities and information about the company.

In restaurants, Burger King Corporation and its franchisees are installing kitchens that use computer controlled holding bins to insure that ingredients are kept as fresh as possible.

“This new kitchen dramatically improves the quality of our products,'' said Kim Lopdrup, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Burger King Corporation. “We will have the entire system converted to our new kitchen by June 30.''

Burger King Corporation and its franchisees are also revamping the drive- thru service with new menu boards, higher quality sound systems and an order confirmation screen that allows customers to confirm the accuracy of their order.

Burger King Corporation also announced this week that it is once again recruiting new franchisees after a five-year period in which it was closed to new franchisees.