Freaking out customers gets whopping big ad recall numbers

This post is about a conventional broadcasting spot but is nonetheless instructive to anyone in the business of building ad creative that people actually notice and remember.

Ad Age is reporting about a new campaign by Burger King that is tracking to have one of the highest ad recall rates yet measured.

Burger King’s “Whopper Freakout” is on track to become the best-recalled ad in more than five years.

That’s according to IAG Research, which pegs the spots, which began running in December, as the most-recalled during the first two weeks of 2008.

If they continue on that trajectory, said R. Daniel Dahlen, exec VP-restaurants and retail, “I can make a pretty educated guess that these have to become one of the most impressive performance numbers we’ve ever seen” in IAG’s six years of tracking tens of thousands of commercials.

So why is it getting such high measurement? Rather than whiz-bang graphics or action, the work is just a hair short of being user-generated content.

The TV spots, from Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami, focus on reactions at a Nevada Burger King where workers told customers the Whopper was off the menu. Some get angry while others wax nostalgic. One says: “The day I could finish a Whopper by myself, I was a man.” Another says, “They might as well change their name to Burger Queen.”

Very clever stuff. You can check out the campaign at

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