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MENU INNOVATIONS | Kevin Santos, Australia
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Ribs & Burgers teams up with 20th Century Fox to create the Deadpool Double

Find out why the burger brand believes there is more room for innovation in partnerships within the QSR space.

Risqué, riotous, and provocative – these are some of the words that have described 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool franchise, now a worldwide phenomenon which has captured the imagination of comic book movie fans.

Deadpool and its eponymous sequel gained notoriety for its action, suggestive language, and fourth wall-breaking references. Recognising the opportunity to interact with their customers in a new and fresher way, the Ribs & Burgers brand stepped out of their comfort zone by collaborating with Fox to create the Deadpool Double, a limited-edition burger.

“Researching the main character was essential,” said Etienne Lubbe, Ribs & Burgers' brand food manager who crafted the bespoke burger. “I then crystallised all this research into concepts that could not only represent the Deadpool character but also could be translated into a first to market burger concept.”

Composed of pickled gherkins, American cheese, onion and two juicy beef patties, the Deadpool Double will notably have a black bun, coloured using activated charcoal. The bun will also be plastered with Ribs & Burgers’ recreation of the Deadpool logo.

"Activated charcoal will not only provide the colour but also alludes to one of the most cheeky aspects of the movie – the Deadpool 2 theme song “Ashes” (by Celine Dion) perfectly,” Lubbe comments. “Recreating the logo was by far the most challenging part of developing the burger. From using a choux paste to mimic the logo to spraying with food grade spray, we tried and tested it all. Finally, we decided on a wafer paper transfer to create the identical logo.”

The Deadpool Double is priced at AUD$ 14.90 and will be available from August 20 to September 23 at Ribs & Burgers restaurants. The new offering is also coming in anticipation of the upcoming release of Deadpool 2 in 4K, Digital and Blu-ray on August 22.

"The campaign and its success all starts with an idea, a concept. I would not accept a coloured burger; we've done this before with the Mutant Burger and we created a following. We had already set the benchmark for ourselves so we couldn't look backwards. How we marketed the product would never compete with the actual product. The product had to be strong enough for others to market on our behalf; the efforts of the Marketing team would only complement the Deadpool Double," Ribs & Burgers National Marketing Manager Adam Issa said.

"This campaign would be one of the biggest spending month for us at Ribs & Burgers. Close to 70% of the budget would be allocated to digital marketing as the reach and frequency is no comparison to any other medium. We also had to consider getting the product into the hands of our customers, so we have allocated a large budget to product trials."

Like the cheeky and suggestive marketing done by Fox for the films, Ribs & Burgers is expected to market the ‘over-the-top and dirty’ burger in similar fashion through its digital campaign.

“From a social media perspective, creating an ‘Instagram-able’ product, the burger (unique in aesthetics) will create huge buzz and digital traffic, creating more following and engagement,” said Mona Ibrahim, Ribs & Burgers’ Media Relations Specialist who secured the partnership. “Influencers love to take images of unique looking food; this forms another way to affirm our presence in the digital world and create the hype the product warrants.”

How the Ribs & Burgers-Fox partnership started
Ribs & Burgers’ unorthodox partnership 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with started in 2016 with the release of their Mutant Burger for the DVD release of X-Men Apocalypse.

“Both parties identified the link between food and home entertainment and the magic that can materialise when you mix both ingredients within an innovative campaign. By understanding this, we knew that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a perfect company to collaborate with,” Ibrahim explains.

The Mutant Burger campaign, she says, was one of their most successful in terms of awareness in both the traditional and digital sphere for the R&B brand. “From that point, we remained open to the possibilities of partnership and developed an independent relationship that kept communication afloat to discuss Blu-ray releases that fit our brands,” she added.

Kristen McGrath, Associate Director of Publicity and Promotions for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, explains that they are open to engaging brands to promote film and television properties for partnerships – such as the one with Ribs & Burgers – in order to work across cinema and home entertainment release timings where appropriate.

“There is a number of reasons Fox work[s] with brands. That can include product placement, global alliance, aligned target audience, a great creative idea, or a limited product development opportunity to name a few. Fox value[s] marketing partnerships and are open to have discussions, share case studies and the up and coming release schedule to enable opportunities for the future,” she said.

Why unorthodox partnerships ignite innovation
Partnerships within the QSR space usually take place between brands within or in proximity to the industry itself. But for Ribs & Burgers, teaming up with a non-industry company signifies that there is more room for innovation for QSRs to stay relevant.

“By forming partnerships with non-industry related companies, the collaboration can potentially refresh the brand, create innovation, avoid product fatigue and reach new demographics to increase business, sales and footfall,” Ibrahim says. “Partnerships can ignite innovation and innovation demonstrates a brands refusal to be complacent and settle for the traditional ways of doing business. However, both parties need to be creatively open to make the collaboration work.”

"We hope the Deadpool campaign inspires other QSR brands to think of new ways to propel business in all departments, take risks, fun risks that make sense to the business and our customers.”

The Deadpool Double is available in store, via Deliveroo or online until 23rd September. Ribs & Burgers' Instagram handle is @ribsandburgers.

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