Burger King may have figured how to get gobs of folks to try its new Satisfries: give 'em away.
The burger giant this Saturday and Sunday - during business hours when fries are normally sold -- will hand out free Satisfries to all consumers. No strings attached.
No coupons. No ID cards. No questions. There is, however, a one-per-customer limit.
Burger King figures the best way to get consumers hooked on its new lower-calorie, lower-fat fries is simple: Let 'em try 'em. While millions of consumers already have tried the new, crinkle-cut fries that rolled out last week, many millions more have not.
"And if you haven't tasted them, you're missing out." says Alex Macedo, Burger King's president of North America. "We invite guests to bring family and friends."
The freebie will be the so-called value-size Satisfries, which normally sell for $1.29. Burger King expects to give away upwards of 10 million orders, says Macedo. A massive, multimedia advertising campaign for the effort will begin airing on Thursday.
The fries have 30% less fat and 20% fewer calories than Burger King's current fries. A small serving of BK's Satisfries weighs in at 270 calories and 11 grams of fat vs. 340 calories and 15 grams of fat for a small serving of its classic fries. As a result of a slight change in the recipe for the fries - but with no change in actual ingredients - the fries absorb less oil, so they have fewer calories.
Burger King also says Satisfries have 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than McDonald's fries.
Free is not new. Virtually every fast-food chain from McDonald's to Starbucks to Dunkin' Donuts has offered new product freebies. What's most unusual here, however, is that the promotion will stretch over most of an entire weekend.
BK keeps reaching up its sleeve to get consumers engaged with its new fries. Last week, it issued a mock press release claiming it had changed its named from Burger King to Fries King. It also changed the signage at a few stores to reflect that.
Its PR efforts seem to be working. Burger King has seriously improved its positive social media buzz as well as word-of-mouth buzz since the roll-out, says YouGov BrandIndex, a consumer perception research service.
Burger King's "buzz score" among health-focused consumers peaked at 19.3 from 14.9, within days of the roll-out. And its "buzz score" among parents rocketed to 28.4 from a low of 1.4 just 10 days before the Satisfries introduction, says BrandIndex.
For Burger King, it's a full-scale assault on rival McDonald's in the one area where McDonald's has historically appeared to be least vulnerable: fries. BK has re-jigged its fries several times over the past few decades - with mixed results, at best.
Burger King is hoping this one's the game-changer.