It’s Still A Big Mac, Right?

Wondering what this whole #StillABigMac | #NotABigMac thing is all about?
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Wondering what this whole #StillABigMac | #NotABigMac thing is all about?

The fast-food supergiant McDonald’s has lost its trademark for the use of ‘Big Mac’ in the European Union, triggering an onset of fast-food marketing sass from both the golden arches, and its regal nemesis.

In a David and Goliath-esque legal clash, Irish fast-food chain Supermac has won a landmark battle over the trademark. The Galway based firm persuaded the European Union Intellectual Property Office to cancel McDonald’s use of the ‘Big Mac’, opening the way for the small chain to finally expand across Britain and continental Europe.

Having previously thwarted Supermac’s ambition of growing beyond Ireland, McDonald’s had argued that the similarity between Big Mac and Supermac would confuse customers, however, the EUIPO ruled that McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of the trademark, as a burger or restaurant name, since it was claimed in 1996.

McDonagh, Supermac’s Managing Director attested this, arguing that there would be no confusion given that a ‘Big Mac’ and ‘Supermac’ are two different things. After opening the first Supermac’s in Ballinasloe, County Galway in 1978, the company now has 106 outlets across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

So what’s a fast-food supergiant to do when faced with small player hardship?

Bringing out the big guns, McDonald’s has sought to turn this embarrassing call-out on its head and into a lesson on fast-food marketing and advertising. Disguising the quip as a ‘re-marketing’ crusade, McDonald’s launched the secretly sassy ‘It’s still a Big Mac, right?’ campaign. By slipping a bit of bacon in the burger, and asking the audience to declare whether the item is ‘still a big mac’ (or not), the brand puts the onus onto the masses, and asks them to fight their cause.

Ever the opportunists, and seeing no shame in rubbing salt into the wounds (mhmm salty fries…), life-time rival and competitor Burger King have made their contribution to the debate.

“McDonald’s just lost its trademark for the Big Mac for suing a much smaller player… It’s too much fun for us to stay away,” said Iwo Zakowski, chief executive of Burger King’s Swedish operation, according to a Guardian report.

As the latest in a string of dodgy deadlocks between the two fast-food gods, Burger King have opted to poke the bear by releasing a fast-food marketing video of customers awkwardly navigating the newly named menu. In early February, 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’, and our personal favourite, ‘The Burger Big Mac Wished It Was’.

This isn’t the first time Burger King have antagonised their American counterparts, as back in December, they offered a ballsy promotion where customers could get a Whopper for a penny if they ordered through the Burger King app… from a McDonald’s parking lot.

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