Ad agencies spend an inordinate amount of time convincing clients to embrace risk. Few are prepared to do it and only a handful get it right. But one brand is building that thinking into its marketing DNA. Speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in France, Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer of Burger King, told delegates that in order to differentiate itself from arch-rival McDonald’s his approach is to embrace constant fear of backlash and see risk-taking as part of his brand’s evolving journey. Burger King has become famous for using a device called "hackvertising" — essentially defining an online target audience; finding a way to "break in" to their conversation and then exploiting it for maximum effect. Machado — along with his agency partner, the Miami-based David agency — said the original thinking was to decode what hackers do and the framework they use, bring it back to advertising and use it for his brand to hack pop culture. Careful upfront planni...

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