Why Burger King Won Super Bowl LIII
08 February 2019 • tvsquared
Meg Coyle,
MarCom Director

Back in 1968, Andy Warhol believed that in the future, everyone would be world-famous for 15 minutes. And that prediction applied to him, at least among the viewers who had no idea who the man was eating a burger during Burger King’s Super Bowl spot.

After a 13-year hiatus, Burger King ran a 45-second spot that featured the legendary artist. It was awkward, uncomfortable and quiet – but it also beat out all other advertisers in terms of TV-driven response in our Super Bowl LIII TV Ad analysis. The TV spot generated ~30 minutes of strong online interest. Even after the peak dropped, Burger King’s baseline remained lifted, not returning to pre-spot levels.

In yet another year of memorable Super Bowl ads, what made this one stand out?

It was different. Sounds simple enough, but it was an ad unlike any we’ve ever seen. Using my family as a case study, I was fascinated by it, knowing Warhol’s work well – I had no idea he ever filmed it! My kids stood transfixed in front of the TV for ~15 seconds before the questions started flowing (Who is he? Why is his hair like that? Who eats a burger like that?!). Even my Gen Z cousin thought it was cool – I actually saw her take her phone out and Google him!

The quality of the aged footage was fascinating too. And not in a gimmicky way, which we’ve seen with other brands. The spot wasn’t “in your face” to sell a product, and while it could have been so easy to take a dig at the competition (like several other Super Bowl advertisers), it didn’t. A unique hashtag, some old footage and close to a minute of silence was all it took!

Mark Hudson, our Head of Business Intelligence, put it best:

“A person far cooler than the viewer will ever be, doing something mundane and turning it into art is fascinating. It is art as much as it is an ad – and that made it cool.