Proving that you don’t need a special occasion to throw a party, the ever-inventive promo team at Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising has been busily hatching a global QSR stunt with Burger King featuring The Simpsons as the property heads into its 20th year in 2009. While the two companies have been partnering intermittently for the past 16 years, the Hang Out with The Simpsons! promo, which launched in early November, marks two firsts – it rolled out across 58 territories simultaneously and wasn’t tied to a tentpole event.
Howard Nelson, VP of worldwide promotions at Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising, says it took more than 12 months of planning between Burger King, Fox and their respective agencies (Campbell Mithun and The Pitch Agency) to construct a four-week program around the now-evergreen property that has generated roughly US$6 billion in retail sales. Selecting a theme that would translate universally was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the project, says Nelson, and the result is a Burger King Kids Meal premium – supported by custom TV spots and in-store and online media – that revolves around the iconic couch gag where the family scrambles onto the piece of furniture in a surprising and funny way during the intro segment to each episode.
The six collectible figures at the center of the promo allow kids to create their own goofy tableau, arranging interactive, couch-bound versions of Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie in any number of configurations. In all, Burger King expects to dole out 17 million toys (11 million State-side, six million internationally) with the purchase of a recently retooled BK Kids’ Meal that contains healthy options including Kraft Dinner, milk and Fresh Apple Fries.
As for supporting media, BK and Campbell Mithun created a live-action version of fictional family The Bensons having their own couch moment at home. Fox, meanwhile, crafted an original Simpsons game called ‘Shoot to Match’ for BK’s kids website www.clubbk.com.
With the BK promo well underway, Nelson is turning his attention to the anniversary year and topping what might be 2007′s most awarded marketing promotion – The Simpsons’ takeover of North American convenience chain 7-Eleven that turned several outlets into full-fledged Kwik-E-Marts. He wouldn’t divulge details, but is promising an event in spring 2009 that will take a new step for the brand. Also expect to see 20th anniversary packaging on products and a new logo.