Bouncing back from an infamous marketing fail by refusing to appeal to the lowest common denominator

What we did

Account Management
Brand Strategy
Creative Direction
Video Production
Social Media Strategy
Social Listening
Integrated Media Strategy


In the 1980s, A&W attempted to compete with McDonald’s immensely popular Quarter Pounder by offering a bigger 1/3 lb. burger at the same price. Americans, unfortunately, didn’t see the value. Since 4 is bigger than 3, confused consumers assumed McDonald’s sold the bigger burger, and the whole experiment went down in history as a huge marketing fail that the internet was still buzzing about nearly 40 years later.


Rather than run from the bad publicity and brutal memes, we embraced the mistake and turned the tides in our favor with an absurd burger rebrand that we knew would get tongues wagging and mouths watering by having a little harmless fun at the expense of math-challenged consumers.


The A&W 3/9 Burger, a remarkable achievement in advertising arithmetic, was a bold burger rebrand based on one irrefutable calculation: Bigger numbers are better numbers. We covered all sides of the equation with creative that refused to appeal to the lowest common denominator, the star of which was a dramatic reenactment of Rooty the Great Root Bear’s groundbreaking discovery.


The unorthodox campaign achieved some beefy results. A&W experienced a 10% sales increase among its 1/3 lb. double burgers. The stunt earned 22 unique pieces of media coverage from outlets with a combined online readership of 3.5B, resulting in 2.85M estimated online views, and 6,850 social shares. Among our target audience, we experienced a 63.4% view-through-rate on paid media.