Case Study: Burger King

In October 2006, Burger King in the US produced three Xbox games featuring their Burger King character and sold them exclusively at their stores for only USD$3.99 each.

  • 3.2 million games were sold in about six weeks (1 million sales worldwide would be considered a ‘hit game’)
  • Burger King leveraged the games with significant positive PR coverage
  • Social media was leveraged when a fan posted clips on YouTube of himself sneaking around and surprising strangers – copying the moves from the game – in real-life.
  • Burger King reported a 41% lift in sales that quarter and attributed this largely to the ‘King Games’ campaign

The games were fun and cheeky, reflected the character of BK’s previous TVC campaigns well and were well received by fans.  The decision to sell the games in-store (rather than as a more convenient download from Xbox Live Marketplace) drove traffic in-store and added to the retail experience.

It was the largest game-centred ad campaign in the world at the time, and Burger King benefited from a first-mover advantage and from executing to a level that matched the expectations of gaming audiences.

Xbox players are used to playing games that typically cost USD$10-$30 million and several years to develop.  The ‘King Games’ were still a significant investment and took 9 months to create, with quality and polish on a par with ‘Indie Games’ downloadable from XBox Live.