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Breaking up friendships for a burger

Would you abandon 10 of your friends for a hot, juicy slab of beef? Apparently the prospect of a free…

By Alexis Stoymenoff , in Face Value: Social networking and our generation , on January 15, 2009

Would you abandon 10 of your friends for a hot, juicy slab of beef?

Photo courtesy of Burger King
Photo courtesy of Burger King

Apparently the prospect of a free Whopper from Burger King was enough to prompt thousands of Facebook users to delete several friends from their accounts.  Burger King’s latest ad campaign created an application on the social networking site, offering a free burger for anyone willing to cut 10 friends from their contact list.

The fast-food chain is trying to market their new “Angry Whopper”, a spicier, meaner version of their classic hamburger.  According to the “Whopper Sacrifice” website, the promotion was shut down after a few days and claims to have ended over 233,000 friendships.

Judging by the comments on the Whopper Sacrifice Facebook page, it looks like users from all over the world – including Canada – deleted friends thinking they would be eligible for the free burger.  Unfortunately, they didn’t realize the promotion was only valid in the US.  Well, that sucks.  But it’s not necessarily a big loss…it’s likely their contact lists needed purging anyway.  I know mine does.

This brings to mind a common problem in the world of Facebook…one that the Burger King marketing team cleverly took into consideration.  Think of all the people you have on your list of “friends”.  Then think of the percentage of those people you actually care about.  Haven’t you been waiting for an excuse to delete a few of the names taking up space on your profile page?

You know how it goes.  You meet someone once, add them on Facebook, and then you never even send them a wall post.  There are numerous “friend requests” that are only accepted because you feel bad rejecting someone. 

Then there are the people you knew back in high school or elementary school, who you think it will be nice to catch up with until you realize you have nothing in common and the only messages you exchange consist of awkward, forced small-talk.  I’m not saying all of these people are useless contacts, but everyone can admit they have a few on their list they could do without.

I have 393 Facebook friends.  Oh my god! I am, like, totally popular!  Not.  In fact, that number makes me feel like a fraud, as there are probably a few people on my list who wouldn’t even recognize me if they walked past me on the street.  As bad as it sounds, I would probably trade a couple of those “friendships” for some complimentary meat.

The catch with Burger King’s campaign is that you can’t get away with the stealthy elimination of these excess contacts.  Friends on Facebook can usually be deleted without their knowledge, but in this case the subject receives a notification that they have been sacrificed for a tasty, jalapeno-topped beef patty.

Luckily, the folks at Burger King have thought of everything.  Facebook users who have been ‘dumped’ can log onto Burger King’s site and send an “Angry-Gram” to their ex-friends.  What will those crazy marketers think of next?


  • This campaign would have backfired for Burger King anyway….. first, even if you delete your friends for a hamburger, once eaten, and explained, friends would laugh and forgive you, second if you did delete your friends and didn’t get the burger from Burger King, (because of location), wouldn’t you be “Ticked” at Burger King and boycotte their establishment????….This was a “NO WIN”….., you may have lost your friends, gained extra calories, suffer from low self esteem because you were low enough to try this……
    You’ve probably lost some customers B.K..,…..NICE ONE…LOL…..ell.

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