Burger King has realized that the best way to market to millennials is to bring the heat — both to its menu and to social media.
The chain’s Fiery Chicken Fries are being touted as the restaurant’s spiciest item yet. Seasoned with a mix of black pepper, cayenne pepper and other spices the item is a direct bid to appeal to the millennial taste for spicy foods.
And the chain is bringing the same amount of heat to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and even Kik where it offered that coveted demographic a sneak peek at the new menu item. The “fiery” wings are a re-boot of the chains popular chicken fries, which Burger King reintroduced to its menu earlier this year after responding to millennial demand on Twitter.
On Twitter, the chain teased the fries in a tweet saying “The fire is coming tomorrow. Consider your tongue warned” — garnering 80 retweets and over 150 favorites. On Facebook, it updated the cover photo of its official page with the product’s tagline, “Offensively Spicy” created out of bright red LED neon lights — which were turned on when the announcement was made this morning.
￼The fire is coming tomorrow. Consider your tongue warned. pic.twitter.com/YqsXBsJLgh
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) August 10, 2015
The brand also made the announcement on Snapchat, sending out three snaps on Monday saying: “Don’t play with fire. Eat it. Tomorrow.” It is also releasing — wait for it — an emoji and sticker keyboard featuring the fiery chicken fries, just as it did in March for the non-spicy chicken fries, in partnership with emoji keyboard company, Snaps for the messaging platform Kik.
The popular snacks were first introduced in 2005 and stayed on the menu until 2012 before being yanked. Burger King brought them back for a limited time in 2014, when a BuzzFeed post titled “35 Foods From Your Childhood That Are Extinct Now” went viral. The brand also said it was inspired by a tweet from One Direction singer Liam Payne that mentioned chicken fries. “I’m so fulllllll!!! Think I just ate my body weight in chicken fries and sides owwwwww,” Payne wrote, even though chicken fries had not been reintroduced to the menu yet. Grammarphiles were quick to point out that he was probably eating chicken and fries. Commas matter.
I’m so fulllllll!!! Think I just ate my body weight in chicken fries and sides owwwwww
— Liam (@Real_Liam_Payne) May 31, 2014
Hirchhorn said that chicken fries drew millennials and younger audiences back to its restaurants after it was reintroduced in 2014 since they had such a big role to play in it coming back — also because the campaign then focused on marketing in college towns and on social platforms they frequent.
“With fiery chicken fries, we’re throwing fuel on the fire and giving our fans more reasons to talk about the product and the brand with shareable content,” Hirschhorn said. “It’s not spicy for the sake of spicy. The idea is that it’s so spicy it might actually offend you.”
Burger King isn’t the only fast food chain that is dabbling in spicy fare to boost sales. McDonald’s introduced its “Mighty Wings” in 2014 and Wendy’s too recently had a jalapeno-inspired “Spicy Chicken Sandwich.”
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