Kapil Grover on Burger King India’s Game Plan to win over Youth with IPL

Burger King IPL

Kapil Grover, in conversation with Social Samosa, speaks about IPL as a vehicle for reaching out to the youth, the brand’s experience with the league, and the core fundamentals that make the Burger King marketing strategy.

Burger King India has been a consistent part of the IPL advertising extravaganza for a few years now. With focus on their Whoppers, 2018 and 2019, saw the brand partner with Mumbai Indians in an official capacity. In both the years, Burger King included CSR in their IPL campaign in the form of food donation and 2019 also saw an exclusive Whopper created for their association with the team. This year, the brand has taken the meme route and their key objective is reaching out to their core TG – the youth. 

In line with this thought comes this year’s Burger King campaign, #MemePremeirLeague.  

“Memes are the new viral language,” says, Kapil Grover, CMO and Digital Officer, Burger King India. 

While IPL viewership in the last few weeks has taken a hit, overall in the last few years, stats have shown an increased viewership from women and kids. 

Burger King’s#MemePremeirLeague is a 60-day campaign spread out across the entire IPL. Every day the brand will feature a meme on their Instagram Stories based on “grill-worthy” moments from the match. The meme will have an offer of the day which can be redeemed on the Burger King app and the brand has included Web 3.0 elements such as NFT which is being used for gratification. 

Why IPL? 

For Grover, the relevance of IPL as a marketing vehicle lies in the objective of the campaign. “For two years we were associated with Mumbai Indians,” he explains. “The objective at the time was to generate Brand Awareness. We were a new brand with just 100+ stores. Hence, IPL was the right choice as a mass media platform to reach the right TG.” 

Burger King India is going to continue to invest in the platform, depending on their objective. This year the brand has integrated new technologies such as NFTs and intends to find out how their audience responds to them. 

“This year and last year the objective was engagement, conversation, and response to technology as a marketing medium,” Grover highlights.

Grover explains that with big-ticket advertising investments such as IPL, the core KPI is usually brand awareness. “Today, one can quantify results such as reach and impressions through smart media trends. But the real parameter is how much engagement you can generate through a campaign?” 

Burger King, through its 2021 IPL campaign – The Greatest Hack – wanted to understand many people actually participate in the game. “We got over fifty thousand game plays within a week. Again the key objective would be participation and engagement. So, depending on the objective of the campaign, if it is Reach, Brand Awareness, and Footfalls we will spend big bucks on mass media. If it is the engagement we will create campaigns that create avenues for the same.” Grover says. 

April – May – June are anyway good months for the category due to the ongoing holiday season and Burger King has witnessed a further uptick in the brand’s performance since their IPL campaign went Live. Kapil opines that this year looks even better, with the general positivity of things opening up again. 

Also Read: Case Study: How Burger King Whopper launch campaign reached 11.6M users

The Fragmentation Trend 

According to Grover one of the biggest consumer trends seen during the IPL is fragmentation. “Five years ago, IPL was perhaps one of the biggest platforms. While that is still the case, the arrival of OTT and social media has created fragmentation,” he says. 

This has given rise to the need of identifying and staying consistently connected with the core TG. Grover shares that Burger King’s core TG is the youth, individuals between the ages of 15 to 24. “So, how do you make sure that the brand stays relevant to them. Not just in terms of what you say, but how you say it?” 

He shares that this fragmentation will continue in the next 5-10 years and the content will evolve a lot. Grover feels that a lot of it will be driven by the quality of the content. 

Brand Burger King 

While IPL is a part of the larger marketing strategy, the brand Burger King, according to Grover consists of the evolving consumers and the initiatives taken by the brand to keep up with them. One of the biggest consumer consumption trends seen in the QSR segment has been increasing demand for variety. 

“In the past Value menu was only driven by price points, but now the consumer has become much more demanding and wants newer experiences. They want variety in addition to value,” Grover exclaims. 

This trend is visible to the naked eye as well – the youth that earlier revelled in roadside Chinese food and vada pav, now has access to streetside waffles and tea bars, in the same price range. The weekly allowance is now spoilt for choices and why should the youth use that money to go to any brand, becomes a question of importance. 

In line with this need of the consumer, Burger King has added many items to their value menu, including, Tikki Twist, Makhani Burst, King Egg Burgers, Peri-Peri Rice Bowl, and more.  

“In terms of communication, the consumer is seeking a lot more authenticity,” he explains. “What advertising was 10 years ago, is not relevant to the consumer of today where the manufacturer would just talk.” 

Another major element of the global Burger King fabric has been their competitive campaigns with other QSR brands. Is that kind of marketing relevant for the Indian consumer? 

“We do have a quirky and interesting way of communicating, globally,” Grover agrees. “But, the starting point is not being quirky.” He shares that the starting point of any Burger King campaign is being culturally relevant. The ambush marketing or competitive global campaigns have been based on insights into what works in those markets. 

“Our communication will always be quirky, but the core idea will be to be culturally relevant and relatable,” Grover says.

It all boils down to communication with the younger generation – the core of the QSR industry, and Burger King India plans to continue doing so with communication that gets through to these consumers. 


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