The secret strategy behind Burger King's black burgers in Japan

Burger King JapanBurger King JapanBurger King’s latest black burger features fried eggplant.

Burger King Japan keeps coming out with bizarrely-coloured burgers.

First, the chain released two all-black burgers last September with black buns, black cheese, and black sauce.

Now, Burger King is selling a bright red burger dyed with tomato powder and a brand new black burger with deep-fried eggplant.

The burgers look pretty unappetizing in real life.

But they aren’t meant to replace the Whopper.

The sandwiches are instead a marketing scheme meant to offset the company’s slim ad budget in Japan, Masanori Tatsuiwa, Burger King Japan’s general manager for business management, told AdWeek.

“At the moment we don’t have much ad budget in our hands, so we do almost everything by ourselves, Tatsuiwa told AdWeek. “We are not using any creative agencies for these products. And this way we don’t need any big money to expand our awareness in the market.”

Here’s the red burger, which is being released on Friday. 

And here’s the black burger in reality:

Burger King Japan’s marketing team, including research and development, is comprised of just five people, Tatsuiwa said.

And the chain is struggling to compete with much bigger rivals in the region, such as McDonald’s.

Burger King has fewer than 93 restaurants in Japan, while McDonald’s has about 3,000, by comparison.

Burger King’s strategy to get attention seems to be working.

Nearly every major media organisation in the US and Japan, including Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Forbes, and The Japan Times has written stories about Burger King’s oddly-coloured burgers in Japan.

And customers have been posting hundreds of photos of the burgers online.

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