Tag Archives: brand names

Angry Whopper is Appetizing Name

I came across news yesterday that Burger King is bringing its Angry Whopper to Japan.

I’m not much of a fast-food guy so I didn’t even know about this spicy offering from Burger King, launched in December in the U.S.

angrywhopperGet this. The burger comes with the usual toppings: onions, cheese, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce. But this burger’s got some kick to it with jalapeno chili peppers and hot sauce. Ouch!

Apparently, Burger King has changed the sauce of the Angry Whopper to best suit the Japanese palate.

Burger King has a long history of frustration in the Japanese market, but they’re giving it a go. McDonald’s, its primary competitor, owns 65 percent of the market. Burger King is actually quite a small player with only 16 stores nationwide.

In any case, discussion of Burger King’s chances in Japan will have to wait.

What I really want to talk about is the burger’s name: the Angry Whopper.

I love it!


Powered by Emotion
This burger has a personality, and a strong one at that. All of us know anger because we’ve all felt it. Anger is like an emotional tornado, and we can’t help but react to its intensity. It’s a raw emotion, one that’s difficult to control.

Burger King has tapped directly into one of our strongest emotions. That’s smart, because as Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, has said: “The emotions are a serious opportunity to get in touch with consumers.” And, as I said, we all know anger.

This isn’t a generic name for a burger in any way. No, this one’s distinctive. It stands out, and that’s a good thing when you’re trying to reach overloaded consumers. I’m sure the world has a ton of distinctive names for burgers, but I haven’t seen many stand outs from the major chains.

I also love how this name lends itself to conversation and word-of-mouth marketing. I can hear it now: “Have you had an Angry Whopper yet?” The name isn’t boring; it’s one you want to talk about.

Like I said, I’m not a fast-food guy, but the name intrigues me to the point that I almost feel the need to go and experience it for myself.

Of course, the experience is where it all counts in the end. A good name can’t save a bad product. A name can help get you in the door, but you’ll only be asked to stay if you deliver on the promise.

I’ve never tasted an Angry Whopper, but Marvin over at The Impulsive Buy blog has. In his review, he actually compares the burger to the penis of a 1980’s rocker. Hilarious read and good review.

Naming with the Positive in Mind
Just one last thought on the name selection. I can’t help but think that one, two or more Burger King team members absolutely despised the name when they first heard it. And I say that because anger certainly is thought of as a negative emotion, as unhealthy and destructive. The associations aren’t good: aggressive outbursts, hostile overreactions and physical reactions and abuse. Those aren’t the associations you want to tie to your brand, are they?

Well, anger is often misunderstood. Anger can be healthy. Anger can be positive. Anger, as I said, is emotional energy. Anger makes people take notice. Anger gets reactions.

So, to Burger King’s credit, they didn’t go a safer route. They saw the positives in the name, saw the potential to foster connections and took a risk.

I think seeing the positives in name candidates, especially when you’re seeing them for the first time, is solid advice. We’re almost pre-conditioned to first think about what we don’t like in a name. But what if we forced ourselves to look for the positives first? Well, we just might find opportunity and potential where we wouldn’t have imagined.

Bite Back
What do you think? Does the Angry Whopper as a name do it for you? Do you find it appetizing? Do you think Burger King made a good choice?

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Brandverbing Brands

With McDonald’s foray into espressos and lattes, we now have a new brand verb: McCafé.

Or do we?

Of course not.

McDonald’s promotional language does have some fun with the brand as a verb: McCafé your day…. But this isn’t what McDonald’s is ultimately going for.


As I thought of McDonald’s McCafé ads, images of Clint Eastwood popped into my head with the line: “Go ahead. McCafé my day.”

“I McCaféd my morning.”

“Let’s go McCafé our day.”

Uh… no. It just doesn’t work. And, as I said, this isn’t what McDonald’s is going for, I believe. They’re just playing with words.

In any case, all of this has me thinking about brands as verbs.

I have to say: I love brands as verbs. They’re alive. They convey a sense of action and motion. They’re all about getting things done. They suggest a unique experience.

Marketing guru Seth Godin has noted the difference between nouns and verbs.

He says:

“People care much more about verbs than nouns. They care about things that move, that are happening, that change. They care about experiences and events and the way things make us feel.

“Nouns just sit there, inanimate lumps. Verbs are about wants and desires and wishes.”

Wouldn’t you rather have your brand in the latter category?

Makes me wonder if Microsoft gave any consideration to this when exploring name candidates for their new search engine to rival google. Will we ever add “bing” to our vocabulary, just as we’ve done with google? Hard to imagine.

Brands as verbs (e.g. FedEx, Xerox, Twitter) can be powerful. We’re talking about tremendous brand recognition and distinction.

But is it good or bad? When should you choose to “brandverb” your brand? When does it make sense? When doesn’t it?

I’m sure the lawyers would strongly caution against “brandverbs”… (By the way, I saw the term “brandverb” used somewhere. If I could remember where, I’d include an attribution.)

Please weigh in on brandverbing. Not a new topic, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on this practice.

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