Burger King Products - Demographic Targeting - The "Superfan"

The "Superfan"

See also: The Burger King

One particular market target that was of importance to the company was identified as the "Superfan". The superfan was a demographic group that included individuals that are 18 to 49 years old, primarily male, who would visit a fast-food restaurant five times a month and eat fast food 16 times a month. Burger King and their competitors hope to attract this group because of the large sums of money that they represent; an increase in sales to this group could drive an increase in global sales. While superfans accounted for less than 20 percent of Burger King's customer base, they accounted for nearly 50 percent of the company's business. By focusing on this demographic group, the company could increase sales more readily; it was easier to generate more repeat visits by this demographic than it was to coax new customers to switch from other chains. The company has used advertising featuring its mascot, the Burger King, in tandem with new product rollouts such as its BK Wrapper product to help generate an increased number of visits by this client segment.

With the slowing of the global economy due to the financial crisis of 2007-2010, the company experienced a downside of focusing so much on this demographic group. The high unemployment of the recession, coupled with healthier eating habits, drove many customers away from fast food towards the fast-casual segment or forced them to stop eating out. Analysts have stated that by focusing its marketing and advertising programs on men, BK alienated women and children. Morgan Stanley analyst John Glass stated, "Maybe catering to the super fan was the correct strategy to kick-start the business, but maybe they relied on that for too long..."

To help counter the perceived male bias of its superfan target group, the company expanded the definition in early 2010 to cover individuals of both sexes, all ages, and households who frequent fast food within the stated time frame. Throughout 2010, the company added newer calorie-conscious "Positive Steps" combo meals that were advertised in female-oriented media, as well as a continuing cross-promotional tie-in with the female-oriented Twilight film series. 3G Capital's new management team eliminated the focus on the superfan after its acquisition the company in 2010, concentrating on a more broad demographic base that includes women and more health conscious customers.

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