Cannes Lions 2018: Hackvertising (and why you should consider it)

Burger King

Buzzword or the next big thing in advertising? This year at Cannes Lions, Burger King took to the stage to celebrate the success of hackvertising.

While some dubbed it as nothing more than the latest buzzword, the Burger King approach to stay relevant in today’s popular culture is undeniably working. Just look at their reach – $400 million worth of earned media impressions – and awards.

But what is hackvertising? Using a “hacker mindset”, the approach starts with the brands identifying a specific zeitgeist to become a part of pop culture, and deliver great results for brands. In the words of Fernando Machado, Burger King’s Global CMO, the company have “inserted the brand at the heart of the conversations going on”. The winner from last year’s Marketer of the Year walked the audience through five steps to successfully own this space:

Define a system to hack: Monitor and define hacking moments. During the “It” trailer fever, Burger King made the most of it by creating the “Never trust a clown” campaign – which premiered in German cinemas and was a not-so subtle nod to its main competitor.

Study it: Get ready to do a lot of research. As Machado told the audience during his talk, “you need to know the rules so you can bend – or even break – them”.

Find a way to insert your brand into the conversation: The trick here, however, is not forgetting the brand’s tone of voice and keeping it authentic.

Call your lawyers: They will help you navigate the challenges and possible issues that the campaign can pose.

Deploy the attack: Disrupt, and then get ready to observe the results. “It is risky, but it is worth it,” said Ricardo Casal, Executive Creative Director at DAVID Miami.

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