Friday, February 1, 2013

Bunny Burgers: Is it Mkt Research or PR

The dearly departed “Spy” magazine did a story where they spoofed several large PR firms regarding a fictitious new chain of fast food restaurants called “Bunny Burgers.” The idea behind the chain was that these QSRs would stock live bunnies, cute ones, and grind them up on the spot to give their customers the absolute freshest meat in their hamburgers. Spy festooned this idea with a fake client with lots of fake money and rented a suite in the Ritz Carlton overlooking Central Park and invited 9 PR firms to bid. Of the 9 PR firms contacted, all 9 were interested in Bunny Burgers as a client and 3 of the 9 were asked to come to the Ritz to discuss the matter. Of the three, none were prepared to turn down the business although one responded seemed diffident about the idea. The other two were quite enthusiastic about it, one even noting how much the public in California would love this idea. The magazine noted, “… as a general philosophical defense of her and her peers, it is important to remember that by the very nature of their profession, they [PR people] are constantly required to represent clients seeking to market stupid, tasteless and even immoral products.”

In a follow up to the PR firm interviews, Spy hired Mark Penn, yes that Mark Penn, to conduct a focus group on the topic. Per Pen’s observations, "Even though we got people to take the first bite, they really wouldn't take a second or third… Scientifically, we tried the concept on them, we tried the reality on them, and most people didn't like either. As well as we could package it, as well as we could add sauce to it, they just didn't like it…. Clearly, if someone tried to go forward with Bunny Burgers, they would have picketers, protesters, riot outside the Bunny Burgers stands, and so the product couldn't make it."

Spy’s conclusion, “For our investigation of the world of fast-food marketing, we discovered a yawning chasm between the enthusiasm of our PR professionals and the outright, unapologetic disgust of the dining public.” Having been around long enough to see several new prospects of the “Technology of the Future” come and go, having seen these technologies of the future accompanied by market forecasts of how this new thing is going to go off like a rocket, I often think to myself, “Bunny Burgers”.

The full Spy article may be found here.

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