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Burger King releases ‘Flame’ men’s fragrance


NEW YORK While seeing Burger King’s partially-clad “King” laying on a fur rug in front of a fireplace may be on the creepy side, there’s no denying that the fast food chain’s viral marketing campaign for the new men’s fragrance, dubbed Flame, is causing quite a stir.

The fragrance (which according to at least one published report, smells like a combination of Axe body spray, TAG and YSL cologne rather than a flame-broiled hamburger as one might suspect) is for sale at Ricky’s stores in New York and on a dedicated Web site located at

Flame is priced at $3.99.

While it remains to be seen just how many consumers buy the fragrance, what is certain is that the campaign demonstrates the chain is at the forefront of viral marketing.

“It remains to be seen whether is ploy will be successful. Ultimately, the fragrance is beside the point. The publicity associated with the humor and absurdity of it is an end in itself. It demonstrates, once again, Burger King’s commitment to pushing the envelope in viral marketing,” said Josh Lauer, assistant professor of community at the University of New Hampshire.

Lauer noted that the campaign for the Flame fragrance comes on the heels of its “Whopper Virgins” campaign, in which the Whopper is pitted against McDonald’s Big Mac in taste tests in such remote locations as Thailand, Romania and Greenland. The campaign generated a good deal of controversy, with critics condemning its ethnocentrism and promotion of unhealthy Western food, but also created a lot of buzz.

Since the launch of the Subservient Chicken Web site in 2004 (in which online visitors could submit real-time commands to a seemingly live Webcast of a person dressed in a chicken costume), Burger King has been on the cutting edge of online marketing innovation.

“In an ad-saturated environment, word-of-mouth promotion may be more persuasive because it is rooted in the trust and authenticity of real personal relationships. Even better than product placements, in which brands are embedded in entertainment content, word-of-mouth marketing inserts a brand directly into conversation among friends. Viral marketing campaigns are successful when they inspire thousands of positive, admiring conversations about one’s brand,” Lauer said.

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