Burger King quietly revealed the Whopperrito, a menu item that blends – you guessed it – a Whopper and burrito this month in restaurants around Hermitage, Pennsylvania, and Warren, Ohio, as well as select locations in Texas.
Even without a promotional push, the Whopperrito has taken the internet by storm on a national and even international level.
Brooke Scher Mogan, VP at Alison Brod Public Relations, would not comment on the communications strategy behind the Whopperrito’s launch.
It might be that there isn’t one. Burger King was silent on social media and its website about its latest Frankenfood as of press time.
"The Whopperrito is currently a regional product being sold by a franchisee on a local level," said Mogan. "At this time, there are no plans to introduce the Whopperrito nationally."
Despite its regional scope, the Whopperrito has picked up coverage in major national outlets such as Fortune, Time, Mashable, and NBC News. Stephen Colbert also got in some jabs about the Whopperrito on his show on Monday night. U.K. outlet The Daily Mirror also reported on it.
Customers have been snapping pictures of Whopperrito ads at the restaurants serving the meal and circulating them on social media. The result has been a total freak out by Twitter and Facebook users over the product.
When asked if Burger King will respond to positive or negative tweets about the Whopperrito, Mogan declined comment. A Burger King representative was not immediately available for comment.
Even if the plan was to silently test the Whopperrito in a few select locations, surely Burger King knew the menu item would get more than its fair share of attention. Frankenfoods are so popular that even people who hate them love to hate them. Just look at KFC’s Double Down, Taco Bell’s Biscuit Taco, and Pizza Hut's hot dog stuffed crust pizza.
On the other hand, Burger King could have launched the Whopperrito with a witty digital campaign and social media strategy. Or maybe the brand realized the bizarre concept would sell itself naturally via word of mouth. And without marketing fanfare touting a product, a brand can also come across as more authentic.
Silence can work. It worked for Radiohead, which erased its website and social media presence to promote a new album last month. As Porter Novelli deputy MD and EVP Erin Osher told PRWeek at the time, "We’re all consuming so much content, there's something that feels really modern about giving people quiet, room to think, [and] breathing space."
Time will tell if Burger King missed out on a Whopper of a marketing opportunity.