Burger King has made a lot of moves locally and globally to reposition as a fun, cool fast food chain since the arrival of CEO Daniel Schwartz in 2013. Now the company is piloting something abroad that brings cutting-edge entertainment technology to the concept of the kids meal toy.
In South Africa, Burger King is launching its own branded augmented reality game called “Defend the King,” according to Media Update. The game requires players to scan an in-restaurant game marker to begin playing. It is not clear how game objectives are met, or if they require players to be physically present in one or more Burger King locations to play. The chain is positioning the augmented reality game as a “green” initiative that replaces wasteful plastic kids meal toys. BK will reportedly launch more augmented reality games in the coming year in South Africa.
Retailers have been trying to figure out what to make of augmented reality gaming since the explosive release of Pokémon Go in July. The game rode a huge wave of popularity upon its launch, banking 15 million downloads just a few weeks after it hit Apple’s online store. The game’s capacity to bring people into physical locations seeking in-game rewards resulted in retail partnerships both official and ad hoc. But by August, outlets like GMA News Online were reporting that the game had already lost 15 million active users, a third of its total user base.
Despite the dropoff in active users, some big retailers are still making moves to situate themselves in the Pokémon Go universe. Starbucks, for instance, recently partnered with creator Niantic to turn all of its locations into in-game “PokeStops” to draw players into the stores.
While some advertisers have played with in-store augmented reality games before, Burger King’s launch of “Defend the King” could help determine the sustained promotional value of a more limited, localized augmented reality game. It could also help gauge the extent to which customers will take part in ongoing retailer-branded augmented reality universes.