How Burger King's New Jingle Captured America's Attention

    The commercials have garnered a strong response from social media—so much that the song is available on Spotify and TikTok. 

    Web Exclusives | March 13, 2023 | Ben Coley
    Burger King's new 'You Rule' campaign.
    Burger King
    Zahra Nurani, Burger King's vice president of marketing communications, says Burger King is on a journey of reintroducing itself to America.


    That’s the start of Burger King’s viral jingle—one that started in the fall and has since captured the attention of millions—whether they liked it or not. 

    As the commercial repeated on national TV, the memes began to take shape.

    The advertisement, which puts a hip-hop spin on a classic jingle from the 1970s, announced a change in Burger King's tagline, from "Have it Your Way" to "You Rule." Rolling out starting October 10, it marked the chain's first significant commercial campaign under its $400 million "Reclaim the Flame" comeback plan, which involves $150 million on advertising and digital channels and $250 million on technology and physical restaurant upgrades.

    Zahra Nurani, Burger King's vice president of marketing communications, says the brand was fortunate to have a "perfect storm" of a catchy tune that became "quite the earworm" and thoughtful media placement during the NFL season. The executive knows that "going viral" is hardly predictable, but Burger King did, and it's all the chain could've hoped for. 

    There's plenty of humor behind the memes, but the attachment to the song is genuine. Burger King noticed how the jingle created moments of laughter and happiness, and it wanted customers to create their own iterations. So it released the song on TikTok. It was also placed on Spotify and has garnered more than 2 million streams.

    "If we're continuing to just provide a moment of enjoyment, provide a smile, some encouragement, some upliftment, then we've done our job with the campaign," Nurani says. 

    "It's been just absolutely humbling and amazing and so validating to just see how consumers have really taken this jingle and made it so much bigger honestly than we could have ever and have really made it their own just through all the content creation they've done, the remixes," she continues. "Honestly, my favorite part of my day is waking up and scrolling social media, seeing what new [content] has been created and doing the same thing at the end of the day. And we're going to continue to listen to our fans."

    Nurani says Burger King is on a journey of reintroducing its brand to America. As the company investigated how to present itself to customers, it felt there was no better way than to go back to its roots. 

    Through the jingle and the evolved tagline, "You Rule," the Whopper is brought front and center, something Burger King has preached for during the past couple of years. 

    "Our origin, we are the home of the Whopper," Nurani says. "We are the originators of ‘Have it Your Way,’ and we have this beautiful jingle that was really the launch of ‘Have it your Way’ in the storytelling around what ‘Have It your Way’ was. We just found a huge opportunity to really think about that jingle, modernize that jingle, and really reconnect with our consumers."

    Tom Curtis, president of Burger King U.S. and Canada, once told analysts, “The Whopper is a multi-billion-dollar brand, and we need to treat it as such." Under this guiding principle, the chain has removed discounting from the burger and supercharged innovation, like the Whopper Melt

    Patrick Doyle, an ex-Domino's CEO who became RBI's executive chairman in 2022, told investors earlier this year that the Whopper was Burger King's best weapon against McDonald's. He suggested the burger's branding was bigger than the company itself. Nurani agrees with the claim and says "it's the best burger in [quick service]. 

    "You want cheese and bacon on that Whopper, have it your way," Nurani says. "You want no onions or extra pickles or mustard instead of mayo, have it your way. And we wanted to make sure that we're reminding our guests of that, that we're continuing to bring them flame-grilled goodness to their everyday life through the Whopper. And both in terms of, if you are feeling like you have a bigger appetite and you want to double or you just need something to fill you up, we have the Whopper Jr. and we'll continue to also bring new flavor profiles and in ways that are our guests can enjoy the Whopper as well."

    The advertisements followed an agency review process last year in which Burger King named OKRP as its new creative agency of record. The company partnered with the fast-food chain with hopes of "creating best-in-class category and advertising strategy, food differentiation, and creative excellence that increases brand love."

    Nurani says the relationship has been a combination of strategic and creative thinking. 

    "All tied in service to making sure that we're driving relevance with our guests as well as business results," she says. "And so really having partners that can embody the importance, but simplicity of what they need to deliver against those goals is a really powerful combination. So it is truly a wonderful collaboration."

    In terms of which customers the commercials are targeting, Nurani describes Burger King as a "mass brand." And because of that, it's careful about not alienating guests. It's a balance of igniting love in a new generation of Whopper customers, but also celebrating existing consumers as well. Nurani believes the advertisements find this middle ground, especially after hearing stories of kids singing the jingle in their classrooms and families dancing in their living rooms. 

    Nurani understands the gravity of moving to a new tagline in "You Rule" after so many decades. But she emphasizes that "Have it Your Way" remains foundational to the brand, and that it's not going away. The executive wouldn't even call it a switch. Nurani sees the new commercials as an amplification of Burger King's advertising. 

    The chain wants guests to know that "Have it Your Way" goes beyond production customization. There's an emotional connection; Burger King wants guests to feel like they're the No. 1 priority. Before the jingle was released, it was pressure tested with customers and well-received. The brand experienced similar success as the commercial entered households nationwide. Burger King's U.S. same-store sales rose 5 percent in Q4, on top of 1.8 percent growth in 2021. It's a sequential improvement from Q3 when comps lifted 4 percent.

    Nurani says there are "endless possibilities" with the new jingle, but adds that its longevity depends on the guests' perspective. 

    "So as long as they continue to want more from us, we'll continue to deliver on that," Nurani says. "And when they feel that they've had enough and we need to evolve, then we'll do just that. So we're going to continue to keep our eyes open or our ears posted and listen to what they want."