After four decades, Burger King has done away with “Have It Your Way.” This is…or I guess was, the slogan most associated with the brand and for years emphasized Burger King’s ability to customize customer orders which rivals like McDonald’s couldn’t do. (That has changed in recent years.) BK’s new slogan is designed to be an evolution of “Have It Your Way” but with an emphasis on self-expression. The new line is “Be Your Way.” According to Burger King, “Self-expression is most important and it’s our differences that make us individuals instead of robots.”
Fine Burger King. It’s your company so have it your way. But was this a smart move?
First, let’s look at it from a marketing perspective. Is this a line that is going to resonate with customers? I’m not so sure. I can see how, if they back this with a feelgood multi-million dollar ad campaign, it might gain some traction but at the end of the day, are Americans really going to find their most meaningful expression of self is through buying burgers and fries? For America’s sake, I hope not. In that regard, the line is forced. Even worse it’s kind of tired. Every brand trying to appeal to a younger demo seems to take a shot at positioning themselves as a champion of self-expression, from Dr. Pepper’s “Always one of a kind” to Microsoft’s “Be What’s Next.” These slogans are almost always used in a TV spot featuring non-threatening skateboarders, cool looking garage musicians, budding fashion designers and every other cliched example of youth self-expression. Wild Guess: The Be Your Way commercials will not uniformed teens slaving away in a fast food kitchen making burgers. On a more basic level, does the line even make sense? As Socrates famously asked, “Can one be one’s own way?” Ok, he didn’t ask that. He was more of a Wendy’s guy, anyway. But does “Be your way” stand on it’s own? Probably not. Interestingly, McDonald’s is also pursuing a somewhat similar strategy, testing out “What we’re made of” as a restaurant tagline in some markets. The idea is that the customer, the company and the ingredients themselves are unique and high quality.
Time will tell if the line sticks or not. If it does, those three words could potentially be a rallying cry for customers and make Burger King tens of millions of dollars. If it falls flat, the line and most likely Burger King’s new ad agency who spearheaded “Be Your Way” will be on their way. What do you think of the new line? Email me, Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you think!