Burger King is hungry for 'Lion King' profits

February 23, 1994|By Anita M. Busch | Anita M. Busch,Hollywood Reporter

While McDonald's is banking on Bedrock, arch-rival Burger King hopes to reap the lion's share with the tried and true this summer: a Walt Disney animated family film.

Burger King is readying what is believed to be its largest promotional program to date for the animated "The Lion King" with an estimated $18 million to $20 million in media support over an eight-week run. That would surpass its previous promotional effort on Disney's box office blockbuster "Aladdin," which added an estimated $15 million to $17 million in media.

Brett Dicker, promotions vice president at Disney subsidiary Buena Vista Marketing, would not comment on media spending, but he did say that the promotional effort "is the strongest to date for a Disney film. We have a solid promotional program which targets every demographic to support this film. 'The Lion King' is terrific, and we're looking forward to a very successful summer."

A Burger King spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Together with other partners Mattel, Nestle, Eastman Kodak, General Mills and Payless Shoe Stores, "The Lion King" is set to open June 24 with a whopping $40 million in media support, according to estimates.

The promotional package is structured in such a way that the consumer will see promotions throughout the summer and into fall -- as one promotional program ends, another will begin. It also targets every demographic: Burger King is launching an adult and kid program, and Nestle targets the gamut with a broad program.

In mid-June, the fast-food giant will begin an eight-week promotional adult and kid program -- with on-air ads -- using theme packaging ("King"-size fries and drinks) and a children's meal using seven premiums.

In addition, Mattel (which is also involved in promoting "The Flintstones") is putting additional money behind its "The Lion King" toy line, which is debuted at the International Toy Fair in New York. A retail promotion is also set with Toys "R" Us.

Nestle has pulled together a 30-brand promotion with national ads to support its effort, and the company has plans to extend the promotion worldwide. As part of the effort, Nestle is actually molding scenes from "The Lion King" into its chocolate bars as well as offering special commemorative "The Lion King" chocolate bars.

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