Burger King turns hangovers into discounts with facial recognition

2023/12/26 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • Burger King in Brazil has launched a "Hangover Whopper" campaign that provides hungover consumers with discounts on the brand's sandwiches, per details shared with Marketing Dive.

  • Accessible through a microsite and the brand’s mobile app, the effort uses facial recognition technology to scan a consumer's face, with the degree of hangover detected corresponding with the size of the recommended combo and discount offered.

  • The effort was created with agency DM9 and runs through Jan. 2 with coupons available only for BK Delivery. It is Burger King's latest in a long line of playful applications of mobile technology to drive engagement around its app and delivery.

Dive Insight:

Burger King Brazil's "Hangover Whopper" is timed to end-of-year festivities that are often marked by long nights and rough mornings, tying the delivery of fast food to a moment when its needed most: during a hangover.

“It is a privilege to have partners like Burger King, who use boldness, innovation and irreverence as essential ingredients and are willing to put brand actions like this into practice. In this case, the use of facial recognition technology combined with humor will generate another fun connection with consumers,” said Icaro Doria, co-president and CCO of DM9, in a statement.

The promotion uses facial recognition technology to measure a person’s "hangover level" from one to three and offers a corresponding combo coupon for the Whopper Jr. Double, Whopper or Whopper Double. The selfies can be shared on social media, extending the reach of the effort.

Burger King’s light-hearted application of facial recognition comes as Rite Aid this week was banned from using the technology for five years by the FTC for improperly using it to combat shoplifting.

Over the years, Burger King has used playful and transgressive efforts to drive traffic to its app and restaurants, often in global markets like Brazil. The chain in 2019 offered mobile users in Brazil a free Whopper for virtually setting fire to the ads of its rivals. Previously, a "Whopper Detour" stunt in 2018 used geoconquesting to drive consumers away from McDonald's and to its restaurants.

While Burger King's same-store sales increased 6.6% in the U.S. and 7.6% internationally in its most recent earnings report, the chain's revenue growth missed Wall Street estimates.

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