Burger King goes mobile to drive traffic

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Fast-food chain Burger King hopes to flip more burgers with the recent introduction of a mobile Web site designed to drive consumer traffic to its restaurants.

The site at wap.bk.com comes packed with a Burger King restaurant locator by ZIP code and maps, nutritional information and promotional downloads. VML, a Kansas City, MO, interactive agency, handled the effort.

"It's about extending both traditional and digital marketing to reach out to those consumers that are comfortable using mobile as a source of content and information," said Webster Lewin, mobile marketing strategist at VML.

Consumers can type wap.bk.com into their cell phone's browser, then choose the content they want. The site so far has been used to offer free downloads related to promotions like "Fast & Furious 3" and to provide updates on BK Racing where bios, race results and free downloads are available.

In-house research shows that Burger King customers are open to this new communications option.

"Burger King customers are typically early adopters of new technology, and mobile is no exception," claimed Renee Holmes, account director at VML.

Burger King is the nation's No. 2 burger joint. It recently went public after private equity group Texas Pacific decided to cash in on its investment.

The mobile site is promoted on the site at www.bk.com. One headline says, "When you're on the go, we're on your phone." Also, WAP banner ads on popular mobile sites will continue to be used to drive traffic to the mobile site.

"We know that people are visiting the WAP site, but at this point we haven't had a promotion tied specifically to in-store traffic," Ms. Holmes said.

Overall, the intent is to give Burger King customers the information they want, when they want it. It fits with the Miami-based chain's "Have It Your Way" theme.

"The mobile site addresses the challenge of providing information to people who are on the go and may not have access to their computer or online information," Ms. Holmes said.

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