How Burger King’s drive for sustainability beat engagement benchmarks


By E.J. Samson, content strategy lead, global business marketing, Twitter

Some companies will talk about the need for sustainability until the cows come home. Others, like Burger King, simply take action.

This summer Burger King launched its Cows Menu initiative, a commitment to change its cows’ diet to reduce methane emissions — read: cow gas — by 33 percent, and announced it in a fun and memorable way. Burger King is well known for its sharp and clever voice for these kinds of topics, and not only was it a win for the environment, but also for Burger King’s bottom line — 55 percent of people on Twitter say they try to only buy from companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.

The strategy: Buzz, brand and story

So how did Burger King drive awareness about the launch of its new sustainability initiative? By turning to Twitter and a suite of takeover products to put its brand and Cows Menu at the center of conversation. Here’s how Burger King did it.

1. Create buzz with reply-provoking copy. The day before the campaign, Burger King’s buzzy and thumb-stopping Tweets made people pause while scrolling through their timelines, generating attention as the campaign kicked off.

2. Put the brand at the center of the conversation. Burger King utilized a Promoted Trend Spotlight, placing #CowsMenu at the top of Twitter’s Explore tab. Thanks to this prime real estate, Burger King’s messaging went on to trend organically.

3. Express the brand’s personality. Paired with a Branded Emoji, Burger King used Promoted Video to reveal its message to the masses.

4. Continue to share a rich brand story. Burger King sustained its campaign momentum by using Promoted Video in the days following the Promoted Trend Spotlight, reinforcing its brand messaging while sharing more information.

The success: Engagement and brand mentions

#CowsMenu did more than just gas up people’s timelines. It topped the charts, becoming number one in clicks for a Promoted Trend Spotlight across all verticals. The campaign also performed 141 percent higher than industry benchmarks for engagement rate.

The campaign got people on Twitter talking, too. Compared to the days prior, Burger King saw a 5X increase in brand mentions during the 24-hour Promoted Trend Spotlight period. It goes to show that whether people are hungry for good news or a good laugh (or both), Twitter is the place to get people talking about a brand’s next launch.

“When doing something that stands out, something that is relevant, you will inevitably get criticism on social media,” said Fernando Machado, global CMO of Restaurant Brands International. “As brands, we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and make a habit of learning from conversations with our critics. That’s how you get better.” 

Machado gives an example: “When we received feedback from the farming community around Cows Menu, we engaged with our critics. With help from Twitter, we were able to identify the growing conversation, and instead of shying away we embraced the opportunity to provide insights around our point of view, give further context into the project and learn a lot about how to make the initiative even better. In doing so, we made Cows Menu an even stronger and more impactful campaign.” 

The article ‘Burger King Launches #CowsMenu on Twitter, and it’s a gas’ first appeared on


●  YouGov U.S. Profiles, Monthly Active Twitter Members (10/13/2019 dataset). Retrieved October 2019

●  Twitter Internal, Promoted Trend Spotlight from all brands, January 1, 2020–July 16, 2020, Global

●  Twitter Internal, promoted engagement rate from QSR brands, January 1, 2020–July 16, 2020, Global

●  Brandwatch, commissioned by Twitter, July 10, 2020–July 16, 2020, United States

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