Brands Can Do More Than Push Products

Burger King stands up to bullies.

My name is Steve Drifka, Creative Director at Traction Factory. And I’m not a bully. In fact, I hate bullies. Just like you, there were times I was on the receiving end of it. No matter how big, how old or how strong you are, there is always someone older, bigger and stronger than you. Especially as a kid. And these jerks prey on the weak and small. The local punk in my neighborhood was named “Dwight” and his thing was he would never let me or others off the school bus. But I can proudly look back and say I stood up for those who couldn’t always stand up for themselves against bullies. Looking back, I wish I mustered up the courage more often, but I am proud I could more often than not.

Recently I watched a very cool video from Burger King to bring awareness to the growing bullying issue that kids have to deal with every day, like I did so long ago when I was a kid. As a creative with over 20 years in advertising, Burger King has always impressed me with how they position themselves and compete with the larger, more popular McDonalds. Historically, BK’s advertising is often much edgier than their more conservative counterpart, but this recent initiative takes on a real social issue by staging bullying scenes with actors inside their restaurant to capture how customers react. The question is, can random people muster enough courage to stand up for the smaller kids against the bullies? I won’t ruin it for you, but you should check it out below.


I love (I mean LOVE) it when brands create work that drives awareness and almost forces us to think differently. Maybe even look at ourselves, open our eyes and think, how can we make society a little better? BK is always going to be busy promoting their latest flame-broiled sandwich, but not all brands are willing to risk the time/money on anything but selling product. Having the guts as a brand to take on social issues is evocative. They’ve stopped saying “someone else will solve that issue.” Building your brand is about connecting with people in meaningful and positive ways beyond your product. I’m hoping BK just won over school bus loads of bully-stopping customers from this latest piece.

While I may not be the biggest fan of BK’s food, I respect the hell out of what they’re trying to do as a brand. And maybe now I’ll be more inclined to stop at Burger King over McDonald’s.


Traction Factory president Scott Bucher contributed his opinions in a Milwaukee Business Journal recap of the (somewhat) super advertising bowl.

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