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Whataburger Case Study

The Challenge

Build the brand and win over Whatafanaticos

Whataburger’s unprecedented success and subsequent expansion outside the State of Texas required the brand to evolve. They wanted to retain the company’s honest, down-home values but adapt their ‘bigger, better’ burger message to appeal to regional and multicultural audiences. They tapped FPO to help them win over a new group of Whatafans.

The Position

Keep it real and honest for Hispanics

Food is a matter of personal taste and something that Whataburger fans take very personally. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of them, which is why we thought it would be a good idea to let them do the talking. FPO chose to keep the Whataburger message real by featuring real customers and employees, in-store, in unscripted situations, expressing their real feelings about the product. This strategy allowed the brand to retain its down-home flavor while broadening its appeal to a larger more diverse audience.

As it turned out, employees and real customers proved to be the ultimate ambassadors for the brand. The genuine passion they felt and the pride they shared struck a chord for its honesty. The documentary-style camerawork caught our customers digging into the product and sharing honest opinions, focusing on the fresher, juicier product and the personalized “delivered-to-your-table” service that made them feel at home.

By working simultaneously with the general market team, FPO was also able to be innovative and nuanced in our approach to engaging Hispanics across the spectrum of acculturation. By catching genuine interactions, just as it happens in real life, we captured Hispanic customers speaking in both Spanish and English. That allowed us to produce both Spanish-language commercials as well as feature English-speaking Hispanics in the general market spots. In both cases, their authentic, unscripted insights reinforced the brand’s legacy of creating bigger, fresher burgers that are made to order.


The Results


In the spirit of confidentiality, we cannot share specific numbers on how the campaign performed, but we can confidently say that the two key metrics of growth – sales and transactions – significantly surpassed the previous year’s performance each year since the campaign broke in 2011. The figures represent some of the all-time highs in company history.

In all key Hispanic categories, Nielsen market share ratings have shown, in most cases, double-digit share increases over key QSR competitors.

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