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Burger King’s McWhopper Pitch: Why McDonald’s Said No

Burger King may have struck a publicity coup against McDonald’s. By suggesting a product tie-up with one of their own rivals, they’ve managed to bring in a lot of online attention and increase interest in their brand.

In the midst of a sales slump and a menu revamp, McDonald’s may have been caught unaware of this plan. Burger King struck first by proposing a union between the companies’ flagship burgers: the Big Mac and the Whopper. But their charming overtures to end the beef with beef has left a bitter taste in people’s mouths when McDonald’s rejected their proposal.

And so, the dream of a McWhopper ended not with a bang, but a McWhimper.

Was it a total failure, though?

So, What Happened?

McWhopper The Unthinkable Burger

Burger King fired the first shots with two full-page ads in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune – two publications with high circulation. They also created a well-designed website with slick animations to showcase “The Unthinkable Burger.” The self-described “Home of the Whopper” came up with a compelling and convincing proposal.

Online reaction was positive, watering the mouths of online users worldwide. There was even a promise to donate the proceeds to Peace One Day, a non-profit organization for world peace. It looked like things would fall neatly into place, but McDonald’s was unimpressed.

People were clamoring to make it happen, but Mickey D’s crushed everybody’s high expectations by publicly rejecting the offer.

Why the Rejection?

McWhopper Pitch

As disappointing and anticlimactic as it may have been, it was actually unsurprising. Based on statistics, McDonald’s pulled in nearly 3 times as much money in 2014 at USD 35.4 billion dollars versus Burger King’s USD 8.6 billion. Being the more profitable company, McDonald’s could just end up losing market share to Burger King if they agreed.

The McWhopper’s positioning as a solution to world peace may have also been its downfall. It provided McDonald’s an easy and face-saving way to reject it – which they used: “…let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”

To top it off, they ended it with this postscript: “A simple phone call will do next time.” McDonald’s made Burger King look petty and inappropriate for equating the reality of global conflict to the business competition between rival fast food chains. Simply, McDonald’s may not have wanted it at all, having less to gain than Burger King.

But would it have gone any other way?

What Else Could Have Been Done?

McWhopper McDonald's Burger King Team-Up

It’s hard to say if any other course of action would have blessed the world with the presence of a McWhopper. A more light-hearted yet still serious holiday might have made the proposal harder to reject. Maybe a Halloween collaboration or special salad for St. Patrick’s day would have worked?

Still, it was a sly move for Burger King to start a public confrontation. They attempted to force McDonald’s hand by making them look like the bad guy if they said no. Realistically speaking though, Burger King had little leverage to pull, and McDonald’s rejection letter was a master class in minimizing PR damage.

Given the public’s perception of fast food chains associated with unhealthy diets, maybe they could have used a different collaboration featuring a healthier meal.

The Takeaway

McWhopper Proposal

On the surface, the conciliatory theme of two rival corporations coming together for a greater good appeared to fit with the theme of promoting world peace. As convincing as the pitch may have been, the odds were stacked against Burger King from the beginning. Though the result was a buzzkill for some online commenters, it still met Burger King’s objective – to create buzz.

Maximizing audience appeal with a wonderfully designed presentation makes an offer that’s hard to refuse. But as promising as it may have been, and as pumped up as burger lovers have become, reality caught up with everyone’s expectations.

Undoubtedly, Burger King was still successful in drawing attention to themselves, and their cheeky move in throwing the gauntlet has brought them new fans. But if they really wanted to make a profitable partnership happen, they made a crucial error by pitching to a brand that was trying to reinvent its image.

Maybe they should have gone for a competitor who was much closer, and who would have more to gain… perhaps a company like Wendy’s. While Burger King’s clever and compelling business proposal was hard to reject, equating what they termed the “Burger Wars” with global conflict was just… tasteless.



Associated Press. “McDonald’s Tries to Change Its Image from ‘Fast Food’ to ‘Good Food Served Fast’ with Fruit, Egg-White McMuffins and Its First Menu Item Ever to Contain Cucumber.Mail Online. August 18, 2014. Accessed September 1, 2015.
O’Reilly, Lara. “Sorry, Burger King: McDonald’s Just Said No to Your Joint ‘McWhopper’ Burger Idea.Business Insider. August 26, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2015.
The QSR 50 – The Top 50 Brands in Quick Service and Fast Casual.” QSR Magazine. August 2015. Accessed September 1, 2015.
Welcome to Our McWhopper Proposal.” Burger King. (n.d.). Accessed September 1, 2015.

Pitch Yourself: The Importance of an Interview Presentation

As we’ve stated before, first impressions are hugely important, especially in the business world. When given the opportunity to give a presentation interview to recruiters or potential employers, always keep in mind that it’s a way to show your capability, personality, and professionalism.

The potential to impress when given the opportunity for an interview presentation cannot be understated. And while you could craft your own presentation and perhaps do an adequate job, this is your chance to knock them off their feet with a professional presentation that will show your interviewers that you’re the real deal.

Many think that SlideGenius and other professional presentation designers are just for corporate clients or entrepreneurs giving investor presentations, but there are an endless amount of scenarios where a presentation specialist can make all the difference.

While we highly recommend recruiting the expertise of a PowerPoint expert to ensure that your competition is no match for the impression you’ll make, there are a few other tips for the interview presentation that you should keep in mind.

Consider Your Audience

This is a good rule of thumb for any presentation, but it’s especially important when making an impression on future employers. Do as much research on who you’re going to be in the room with you before you enter.

-What is their professional background?

-What are their job duties at the company you’re interviewing with? What will be your professional relationship with them?

-What questions can you anticipate being asked by them based on their expertise?

For God’s Sake, Groom Yourself!

There are so many well-qualified candidates that lose job opportunities because of careless grooming, despite how easy this aspect of the interview is. Unless you’re a sixteen-year-old kid applying for the Burger King down the street, poor grooming and appearance in an interview is inexcusable.

Renowned thief of the Declaration of Independence and actor Nicholas Cage
Despite his prowess as an actor, Nicholas Cage is one of the many examples of unscrupulous grooming and unprofessional attire.

If you’re unsure about your ability to present a pristine front, outfit yourself in your interview attire and ask a friend to critique you as brutally honest as they can.

Prove your Leadership and Communication Skills

Recruiters request a presentation interview to test your potential to represent a company in a confident, assured way, and to present yourself in the process. In doing this, you’re expected to do more than merely expound upon your experience and qualifications, you’re expected to do it in in a way that inspires confidence in who you’re interviewing with, and to show that you can be a positive face for the company.