Fast Food Ringtone Contest

A decade ago or more, I seem to remember that Burger King had an ad campaign that featured a normal businessman-looking fellow. Patrons at Burger Kings all across the country were to be on the lookout for the guy, and whoever saw him first in a given franchise won some kind of prize. There was a big hullabaloo about it, and it seemed to be very successful.

This suggested to me a new ad campaign. First, they’d need a really catchy jingle. A new song, instantly recognizable, that they could play all over the place until everyone knew it meant ‘Burger King,’ or whatever chain took this idea and ran with it.

Then they could put ringtones on their Web site. For all kinds of cell phones. And they could give them away for free.

And then they could have a ‘secret shopper’ fellow, an anonymous man (face blanked out in the commercials, as though he was in the Witness Protection Program) who could go to major metropolitan areas or big suburban areas full of teenagers (the people most likely to download ringtones, I suspect), and who would give a cash prize to the first person in that area whose cell phone he heard with that ringtone.

Any time a phone using the tone went off, everyone in the area would think ‘Burger King’ (or whoever), and would look around to see if the secret shopper was watching.

The contest is just a gimmick; it’s the free ringtone advertising the product far and wide that’s the real win.