Corporate Eye

From Klingons to Kingons – Star Trek and Burger King Team up for Promotion

Burger King is investing a lot of its marketing budget into blockbuster movie sponsorship this summer.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Burger King will tie its products to Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek, Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.  The 3-film partnership is new for both Burger King and Paramount Pictures, and it seems like a home run for Burger King.

Burger King has released one of the company’s new ads for Star Trek glasses, which will be available at Burger King locations soon.  Certainly, both die-hard Trekkies and anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock for the past 30+ years, will recognize the parody of Star Trek Klingons appearing as Kingons in the new ad.  It’s clever, and as much as the Burger King character freaks me out, this rendition does seem to work. 

So often product placement seems haphazard and inappropriate resulting in a missed opportunity.  I think the Burger King and Paramount partnership is a good one.  It’s nice to see fast food restaurants tying their brands to movies that don’t have a G rating.  In other words, there does appear to be a place for fast food sponsorships in movies that aren’t cartoons (it worked for Burger King and Paramount for both the original Transformers movie and Iron Man).  I suppose these movies are based on comics and cartoons, but the audience for these movies is not likely to be made up primarily of the preschool demographic. 

What do you think?  Is the Burger King-Star Trek partnership a good one?

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

I like the pairing and find the ads very clever. I never realized until now that the creepy King was already about 50% Klingon, he just needed a couple goose-eggs on his noggin and a more sinister wardrobe. I think Burger King has really worked hard over the past few years to differentiate itself from McDonalds and appeal to adults rather than kids. I hope they’re rewarded for their efforts, but still think their idea about “Whopperistas” customizing my burger, is a stretch.

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