Burger King gamifies quarantine with ‘Lockdown Whopper’ in Brazil


  • Burger King Brazil is rewarding people for staying home during the coronavirus pandemic with the “Lockdown Whopper” campaign. The burger chain is using its mobile app’s geolocation feature to assess when customers are sheltering in place, according to details shared with Mobile Marketer.
  • Customers who participate in the promotion will receive vouchers for free food, with rewards increasing as they spend more time at home. The prizes start with snacks and get more valuable, including free Whopper sandwiches and combination meals.
  • Burger King worked with agencies David Miami and David São Paulo on the campaign, which began June 4.


Burger King’s “Lockdown Whopper” campaign in Brazil is notable for harnessing mobile geolocation tech for a promotion that supports a noble cause: the suppression of the COVID-19 pandemic in a country that has seen a jump in infections to the second-highest in the world after the U.S. By tying rewards to time spent at home to stop the virus’ spread, the brand is trying to make what can often be a lonely experience more entertaining.

“We gamified the quarantine, turning the isolation time into benefits at Burger King,” Toni Ferreira, head of technology and innovation at David São Paulo, said in a press statement.

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The burger chain is asking consumers to opt in to the promotion, which may alleviate privacy concerns that have dogged the location data industry in several parts of the world. At the same time, Burger King can gain greater insights into customer locations to hone the targeting of future campaigns and as it starts to reopen some stores.

The “Lockdown Whopper” push comes as the pandemic disrupts restaurant operations, forcing chains to rely on takeout, delivery and drive-thru services in areas where dining rooms are closed. By rewarding customers for downloading its app and participating in the campaign, Burger King could boost its user base in Brazil and expand a direct channel to people’s smartphones for promotions and loyalty rewards. Brazil has been a key growth region for the chain, which had opened a restaurant in the country every three to four days as recently as last year, Bloomberg News reported.

Burger King Brazil’s effort is another use case for geolocation tactics that have supported other campaigns from the brand, such as its viral “Whopper Detour” stunt in the U.S. The 2018 effort timed around the holidays targeted mobile customers who were near McDonald’s stores, offering a free Whopper when they were within 600 feet of the rival’s locations. The campaign boosted downloads of Burger King’s revamped mobile app by 1.5 million.

In Brazil, similar efforts have included an in-app feature that last year offered a free Whopper to mobile users who virtually set fire to the outdoor ads of rivals. The campaign, also developed by David São Paulo, highlighted the pre-ordering, payment and pickup features of its BK Express service.

With “Lockdown Whopper,” Burger King continues to recognize the realities of the global health crisis in its marketing. In the U.S., Burger King last month let customers use its mobile app to leave “thank you” messages to employees who have braved the pandemic by going into work. In April, the company reworked its “Home of the Whopper” campaign to the “Stay Home of the Whopper” to urge people to be heroes by staying home, while saluting the healthcare professionals who confront the pandemic daily.

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