Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fries: Who Slings 'em Better?

I got to thinking about positioning the other day.

Perhaps the most vital (and fun) part of the marketing process, positioning is when you stop thinking about your product as if it existed in a vacuum and begin to frame up how it fits in the grand scheme of (competing) things.

Suddenly you're faced with selecting words and deploying phrases that best communicate how your widget differs from – no, is BETTER than – all the rest.

In that same spirit, we introduce you to a new segment we like to call:

“Who Wore it Better?”

Cute. Now, what is it again?

Think about the taglines embraced by two leading luxury car manufacturers here in the US:

Mercedes-Benz: The Best or Nothing
Lexus: Pursuit of Perfection

Both are “wearing” the position of “luxury automobile.”

But who “wears” it best?

Whose aura resonates most with its intended audience?

We could go on for hours interpreting the intent behind these taglines, dissecting their interplay. We could look beyond words, and pick apart creative and channel.

Instead, we’ve elected to stick with something we know (better than we care to admit).
The French Fry
When you think about traditional fast food, what comes to mind?

A burger and fries. That’s right; the “burger” comes before the “fries.”

Not always the case with advertising.

More recently, both McDonald’s and Burger King have been touting the hamburger’s gilded sidekick. And why not? While burgers are one choice of many sandwiches and come with limitless variations all their own, the fry is an industry staple and key point of comparison among all brands.

Do we want fries with that? Of course!
Take a look at two more recent fry-slinging ads.

Who wears it better?

If you ask us, it's hard to say. Both companies make French fries work; wearing it in a way that accentuates each brand’s best features. 
  • McDonald’s is the responsible, mature (yet equally clever) older brother; well-established and refined. Their ad touts “best fries on the planet” in a bold yet respectful, marquee way.
  • Burger King plays the ever-subordinate and neglected, attention-seeking little brother. Finding it impossible to escape Ronald’s shadow, BK enlists shock value to ensure its message gets heard. Their ad (quite literally) sticks it to the man.
Both campaigns stay true to their brand and most definitely resonate with the target markets each are looking to attract.

Whose message resonates with you most?


  1. The McDonald's ad is more magical. I vote for that one! What is the context of the "toll this"? Was it in a turnpike rest stop?? I don't get it!!

  2. The BK one was used on several toll roads with no specific reason, other than empathizing with toll road users at the notion of paying to access the road. I'm with ya on McD > BK in general.