McDonald’s Totally Fails with response to McWhopper Proposal from Burger King

McDonald's CEO McChickens out when Burger King asks for a one-day truce for World Peace Day. #McFail

The proposed McWhopper

No one likes a party pooper, especially a self-righteous one. We’re talking to you, Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonalds.

The proposed McWhopper
The proposed McWhopper

In the spirit of peace (and really good PR), Burger King recently launched a very public an effort to bring the two fast food chains together for World Peace Day on Sept. 21.

The one-day truce involved collaborating on a Whopper/Big Mac mashup called the McWhopper, sold only at a special pop-up restaurant in Atlanta (a diplomatic half-way point between McDonald’s Illinois headquarters and BK’s Florida headquarter).

Patrons would pay for the hybrid burger by “declaring their own truces” on paper tray mats. Adorbs.

Win-win, right?

But in a PR flub of #epicfail proportions, Easterbrook cooly dismissed on the tongue-in-cheek idea on the McDonald’s Facebook page.

McDonald’s Totally Fails with response to McWhopper Proposal from Burger King

Wait, what?

That was one of the most tone-deaf responses we’ve ever heard. Don’t you have people to stop you from saying stupid stuff like that? Hint: The internet now hates you (and no, “likes” don’t mean people like your response).

Here’s where McDonald’s missed a huge opportunity (and BK won)–because exactly how many of us actually knew that there was such a thing as World Peace Day? We do now. And how many of us are planning to do anything meaningful to celebrate it? (Bumperstickers don’t count, nor do Facebook “likes” of someone else’s heartfelt action). 

Burger King got that. Their PR effort (and trust us, there were several agencies involved, so it’s not all unicorns and rainbows) focused on making a very serious movement approachable in a fun and doable way.

The McWhopper website described the stunt as an attempt “to get the world talking about Peace Day.”

Mission accomplished. And PS, I now really like the BK brand a lot more.

Sorry, Mr. CEO who makes a $1.1 million salary annually, but for the average person, eating a burger and contemplating peace for a few minutes with their friends and family is “meaningful” and just might “make a difference”. It’s an actionable, feel-good step that we’ll talk about and enjoy. I know that a lot of my “teachable moments” with my kids happen at the table, organically, no matter what we’re eating.

So we say, next time, think small, Steve. And don’t McChicken out, because a McWhopper sounds pretty good, especially with a side of Peace.