When McDonald’s declined to accept Burger King’s offer to team up to produce a special hamburger to celebrate Peace Day—the McWhopper, as Burger King proposed it—others rushed in. And on Monday, five brands will honor the day for peace with a collaboration burger at a pop-up restaurant in Atlanta.
Teaming up with Burger King are Krystal, Wayback Burgers, Giraffas Brazilian Grill, and Denny’s. The brands will serve 1,500 “Peace Burger Sandwiches” at a pop-up location near Georgia Tech’s campus. On top of trying the burger, guests will be invited to participate in a social media photo booth, through which they can share with whom or what they wish to make peace.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21 each year to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. Also known as Peace Day, as designated by the non-profit Peace One Day, it is a day of ceasefire from personal or political issues where people around the world take part in various activities and organize events centered on the peace theme.
In an effort to expand awareness of Peace Day, Burger King used social media and print advertising invitations and proposed to join forces with arch-rival McDonald’s to create a burger combining the ingredients of their respective signature sandwiches, the Big Mac and the Whopper. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook declined the offer via a post on Facebook, noting that the competition between the brands “is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”
Krystal, purveyor of square slider hamburgers, was the first to fill McDonald’s spot and volunteer its service, says Kim Miller of Ink Link Marketing, a communications firm that represents Krystal. Burger King was quick to embrace the offer.
“We welcome this opportunity to break bread with Burger King. This is a fun way to address a serious topic,” Miller says. “We were delighted when they responded positively, and it’s nice to connect with Burger King and have a good time with the Peace Day initiative.”
No one is giving any hints as to what the Peace Day burger creation will look or taste like—the process has been shrouded in secrecy. But Miller says Krystal will be providing two of the core ingredients. In addition, Krystal will be donating 25 cents of every Vidalia-Q burger sold system-wide on September 21 toward the Peace One Day organization.
“The goal is to not only raise money for the organization but to also foster a dialogue and to encourage civility among friends, enemies, and ‘frenemies,’” Miller says.
Finally, every Krystal restaurant will carry a Peace Day message.
“We’re inspired by the Peace Day Burger idea and look at this as a wonderful opportunity, so we jumped on this,” says Curt Mueller, group creative director at 22squared, an advertising agency that represents Krystal. “We want to take the things that are totally different about each of our products and come together with a single burger. Things are aligning nicely.”
The other participating brands welcomed the chance to promote their brand and expand company awareness on a national or international level while joining a cause almost everyone can agree on.
“Our marketing team immediately decided we wanted to help out and be part of something we think is amazing,” says Gillian Maffeo-Plummer, director of marketing at Wayback Burgers.
Maffeo-Plummer says the Peace Burger Sandwich fits perfectly with the philanthropic philosophy of Wayback Burgers and its positive interaction with the local communities where it is located. In addition, it meshes with the brand’s frequent limited-time offers and monthly variations of its burgers and milkshake flavors.
“Our restaurants are typically located in the suburbs, and we like to connect and support the local communities,” she says. “We truly want to give back any way we can.”
By Paul Gereffi