Medium-sized, Cape Town-based public relations consultancy Atmosphere Communications has scooped top honours in the first-ever Campaign of the Year category in the PRISM Awards, for its launch of Burger King in South Africa, on behalf of its client Burger King South Africa. The consultancy received the ultimate accolade at the PRISM Awards Ceremony, which took place at The Maslow Hotel in Sandton last night, Sunday 6 April 2014.
The brief for the campaign was relatively simple – create hype around the launch of Burger King (BK) in Cape Town and drive demand for BK’s iconic Whopper Burger. But the consultancy faced daunting challenges. Not only were their competitors aware of the opening date and the venue of the flagship store, they planned to outspend them with large-scale countrywide advertising, as well as numerous guerrilla-marketing activities. The consumer news agenda also seemed to be against them, as all attention was focused on the two international superstars, Bon Jovi and Justin Bieber who were performing during the launch period.
Welcome to ‘The Whopper’
The campaign introduced a third international superstar to our shores and set about introducing Capetonians to another, freshly created, international icon, “The Whopper.”
They leveraged the new superstar with the full armour of public relations and social media tools – stunts involving yachts, models and visits to five star hotels with a screaming flash mob of teenagers in tow, in addition to a high intense business and influencer publicity campaign. They also convinced the Mayor of Cape Town to give Burger King the key to the City.
The impact was overwhelming. Media coverage exceeded expectations with 252 on-message articles in local, national and international media and more than 120 million media impressions across Facebook and Twitter, (BK trended on Twitter three times). Bieber fans even started changing their placards from “Bieber Fever” to “Burger Fever!” Customers flocked from all corners of South Africa with one fan even hitching a ride all the way from Pretoria just to get at a Whopper burger.
More than 4,500 people attended the opening day launch festivities – 1,500 were expected – and some even slept outside the store the previous night. But one of the biggest success indicators was the queue that continued to snake outside the flagship store for weeks post launch – it became a story in itself and journalists, bloggers and the public reported about their success for weeks.
“This was a stunning tactical campaign that over-delivered on objectives,” said Chief Judge Marilyn Watson. “There was great Return on Investment (ROI), with tangible results and deliverables. The campaign was powerful in its simplicity, embracing the multiplicity of channels available.”
The business results were phenomenal: 39,046 Whoppers sold during opening month (May 2013): (target: 22,000); sales were at R2.2m, exceeding expectations by 50%. After two weeks, Burger King ran out of Whopper buns – and had to fly in stock from Europe. After the second month, sales were exceeding expectations by 300% and SA’s double Whopper sales were 1,000% more than the international sales average for Double Whopper customers spent on average R100 per transaction, exceeding the R50pp average in the local quick service restaurant (QSR) industry. BK was inundated with requests from potential franchisees and landlords and received hundreds of applications within the first month.
FleishmanHillard SA Voted SA’s Top Large Public Relations Consultancy
Global public relations firm FleishmanHillard SA won Best Large Public Relations Consultancy, another new Award introduced into this year’s Programme. “FleishmanHillard SA impressed with its customer base and the quality of the work they do – and this is reflected in their sustained business success,” commented cluster judge Johanna McDowell. “Their investment in developing young people is commendable and they are a clear leader in the field.” Last year the consultancy increased its revenue by 11% to well over R30m, while increasing its profit by almost 40%. A level-4 BEE contributor, the Community and Individual Development Trust owns 30% of the agency’s equity. In essence, R3 in every R10 of post-tax profit goes to educating young black South Africans who can’t afford a tertiary education, while an additional 5% of its equity is held by a Black Staff Ownership Trust. Over 55% of their workforce is drawn from previously disadvantaged communities and 80% of its employees are women.
Best Mid-Sized Public Relations Consultancy – Atmosphere Communications
“It is clear why Atmosphere Communications is one of the most awarded Public Relations companies in South Africa,” continued McDowell. “They are leaders in the strategic use of research and measurement. But behind their hardnosed businesses focus is a soft heart for the community. Their focus on employee development will ensure they remain a group many young people aspire to join.” Atmosphere Communications’ turnover has increased more than 40% since Atmosphere’s inception, with total turnover for 2013 reaching R24,3m. A Level-2 BEE contribution, 65% of middle management and senior team players have been employed for longer than five years.