The Story Behind #ScaryClownNight Posted on | WARC

Burger King: Scary Clown Night by LOLA MullenLowe

Fast food restaurant Burger King used Halloween to engage with customers across the globe in a campaign that trolled its competitor’s mascot, Ronald the clown.

  • Burger King wanted to drive traffic to its restaurants through a campaign that felt contextually relevant.
  • The campaign leveraged Halloween and the coinciding release of the horror film ‘It’ as an opportunity to troll the McDonald’s iconic clown and push consumer engagement with Burger King’s brand.
  • An invitation was sent to the public before Halloween which encouraged people to visit Burger King stores all over the world dressed as clowns, their reward would be a free whopper.
  • The campaign achieved 2.1 billion earned impressions and went global; #ScaryClownNight was mentioned in more than 1100 articles in 40 countries.

The story behind the campaign


The ‘quick service restaurant’ category is a rough category to do well in. Players tend to focus their communication strategies on being present and driving traffic to their restaurants. In this context, keeping the conversation alive is key to remaining on top of mind.

For the last three years, Halloween has proven to be one of the best opportunities in which Burger King can stand out and make some noise, especially on social media and in the press. In 2017, we didn’t just come up with an epic idea but we also engaged with people and made them visit Burger King restaurants across the globe.

Creative concept

After the launch of ‘It’, Pennywise was reborn as one of the scariest characters in mainstream culture and Google Trends revealed that clowns were emerging as the third most popular scary costume choice of the year. Burger King had never had such a great opportunity to troll the McDonald’s mascot Ronald and his not so friendly figure. To take advantage of the context, and Burger King’s ongoing teasing of its competition, LOLA MullenLowe and Burger King devised a cheeky and bold stunt to raise Burger King’s profile and drive traffic into its restaurants.

All over the world, people were invited to ‘Come as a clown, eat like a king’ and Burger King would give away a free whopper to anyone that came to its restaurants dressed as a clown on Halloween night.

Creative execution

The invitation came on October 24th in the form of a video that was full of classic horror movie references, powerful visuals and the presence of a familiar face.

Following the video, other PR and digital executions came: a press release; posts and videos especially made for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; posters and a special wrap for in-restaurant activation.

The activation was mainly organic, just by using Burger King’s owned channels and activating the press. #ScaryClownNight was mentioned in more than 1100 articles in 40 countries reaching 2.1 billion of earned impressions and a total media value of USD 22.4 million.


Agency: LOLA Mullenlowe, Madrid
Global Head Of Brand Marketing, Burger King: Fernando Machado
Chief Creative Officer: Chacho Puebla
Executive Creative Director: Pancho Cassis
Creative Director: Fred Bosch / Fabio Brígido / Tomás Ostiglia
Copywriter: Álvaro Palma / José Sancho / Tom Elliston
Art Director: Pedro Sattin
Production Company: Only 925This article was originally published on