Matter Chatter

Is All Press Still Good Press?

Who would have thought that adding a handful of french fries to a hamburger would spark such a controversial conversation online? Burger King launched the $1 “French Fry Burger” because apparently, that is what their customers wanted. It seems like such a simple strategy, listen to your customers and then implement their idea, just like Burger King did. But is the outcome always going to be a positive one?

It was once a public relations rule of thumb that all press was good press and that if a campaign or an announcement got people talking, then it was a success. While Burger King advocates and aficionados are thrilled, PR influencers and some fans may look at this creation as a brand running out of creative ideas. Daniel Gross from The Daily Beast stated, “I fretted that America – and American business, in particular – seemed to be running out of ideas.” On Burger King’s defense, James F. Thompson from Media Bistro says, “…the public will celebrate. Because this is what we want. And Burger King listened. Those geniuses. They get us.” Others are mocking the fast food chain, Venessa Wong from Bloomberg Business Week wrote an article, stating the most obvious fact, you can already have this amazing concoction any time you want, including right now. It’s not like the stores don’t always have fries.

So, the news wasn’t all positive, and some of it was flat-out negative. But Burger King ultimately wins because people like me are talking about their latest product offering. That’s good PR.

Burger King's French Fry Burger

Burger King’s French Fry Burger


  • Josh Payne

    I think if you’ve got the right person on spin control, almost all press can be good press. Helps to have a good PR agency on retainer, though. ;-)

    As for the new French Fry Burger, I had my first Primanti Brother’s sandwich in Pittsburgh a few months back (if you’ve never been, Google it for some epic food imagery) and can attest to the fact that those things belong on EVERYTHING.

  • Matt Mendolera-Schamann

    I think in this case especially, the attention is all good for Burger King. While it may not help their marketing or PR teams gain credit for being particularly creative, it does help drive awareness of the new menu item and ultimately, the people who are excited by this will be no matter where they stumble upon the news. The people who aren’t interested probably aren’t going to be swayed, either.