Burgers for buddies … everybody has their price

Excerpted from the New York Times, “The Value of a Facebook Friend? About 37 Cents”, by Jenna Wortham, January 9, 2009

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You may not be able to get a coupon for a digital TV converter box, but if you’re experiencing a bit of bloat on your Facebook friend list, you can snag a free burger by dropping 10 of your Facebook friends, courtesy of Burger King.

That’s the gist of Whopper Sacrifice, an advertising campaign from Burger King to promote a new version of the company’s flagship sandwich called the Angry Whopper. To earn their free burger, users download the Whopper Sacrifice Facebook application and dump 10 unlucky friends deemed to be unworthy of their weight in beef. After completing the purge, users are prompted to enter their addresses and the coupons are sent out via snail mail.

The application sends a note to each of the banished friends, bluntly alerting them that they were abandoned for a free hamburger.

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It may seem like a counterintuitive marketing strategy, but the agency behind the stunt said it’s a way to use the Web to capture a lot more attention for the same advertising dollars.

“Choosing 10 people can take a lot of time. There’s at least an hour’s worth of people’s eyes on your brand. Maybe you can’t quantify those numbers, but they do add up.”

Besides, “we aren’t giving the burgers away -– you have to sacrifice. You are paying for it but the currency is different.”

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What price is Burger King placing on a Facebook friendship? At a suggested retail price of $3.69 for the Angry Whopper sandwich, customers are trading each deleted friend for about 37 cents’ worth of bun and beef.

Since the application became available in late December, nearly 200,000 Facebookers have been de-friended for the sake of a hamburger. That amounts to more than 20,000 coupons for free Whoppers.

Edit by DAF

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