When is imitation the sincerest form of flattery and when is it just kinda creepy?

April 29, 2010

I’m a little late in chiming in on the hoopla surrounding Burger King’s latest commercial introducing a new egg sandwich that admittedly, is a lot like McDonald’s Egg McMuffin but cheaper. I only recently saw the commercial but now join those who think it seems like a bad move. Sure, it has people talking but based on the comments I’ve been reading on the various blogs and online news sites, it’s getting buzz for less than positive reasons.

Some applaud BK’s honesty but many others seem to think it just reeks of desperation. If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the video above. The “plot” revolves around a creepy King breaking into rival McDonald’s headquarters and stealing an Egg McMuffin recipe. The voice-over admits, “It’s not that original, but it’s super-affordable …”

Considering the recipe doesn’t involve much more than an egg, sausage, cheese and a muffin, it seems odd to me to go with a stolen recipe route. It’s not like there is a secret sauce involved. It seems clear that they just want to tell McDonald’s customers (okay, maybe just those young teens who think there’s something thrilling about breaking and entering to steal a recipe) that they can find a cheaper breakfast sandwich down the road.

A recent AdAge article by Rupal Parekh takes a deeper look into the increasingly competitive breakfast day-part with some additional examples of how Burger King is trying to get more competitive. Parekh points out that breakfast is McDonald’s most profitable meal, so it’s not surprising that Burger King is trying to capture some of this business. I just think they’re missing the mark a bit with this latest attempt, but I guess we’ll see.

So what do you think about Burger King’s approach? Creative concept or weak strategy?