February 13, 2019
After McDonald’s lost its trademark for the Big Mac in the European Union on January 15, Burger King in Sweden revamped its menu in a snarky hat tip to the rival fast-food chain. Imitation, it turns out, is also the sincerest form of trolling, The Washington Post reported on February 11.
The trademark was ceded to Irish entrepreneur Pat McDonagh, whose fast-food chain, Supermac’s, won the landmark legal battle against McDonald’s. The Galway-based firm persuaded the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to cancel McDonald’s’ use of the “Big Mac” trademark, opening the way for Supermac to expand across Britain and continental Europe.
It also left the way clear for Burger King—maker of the grilled Whopper—to have some fun with its global competitor.
In early February, the Post reports, Swedish outposts of Burger King featured menus with names grounded in Big Mac comparisons, including: “The Kind of Like a Big Mac, but Juicier and Tastier” and “The Big Mac-ish but Flame-Grilled Of Course.”
“It’s too much fun for us to stay away,” said Iwo Zakowski, CEO of Burger King’s Swedish operation, according to report by The Guardian.
Burger King’s marketing campaign was created by Stockholm-based ad agency INGO. The agency released a video of customers awkwardly navigating the newly renamed menu to announce the campaign.
And as for Supermac’s, “We’re delighted,” McDonagh told The Guardian, adding, “It’s a unique victory when you take on the Golden Arches and win.”
In a statement provided to The Washington Post, McDonald’s said it plans to appeal the EUIPO decision.
“We are disappointed in the EUIPO’s decision and believe this decision did not take into account the substantial evidence submitted by McDonald’s proving use of our BIG MAC mark throughout Europe. We intend to appeal the decision and are confident it will be overturned by the EUIPO Board of Appeals,” the statement said. “Notwithstanding today’s decision, McDonald’s owns full and enforceable trademark rights for the mark ‘BIG MAC’ throughout Europe.”
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