It’s 1957. Russia just launched the Sputnik satellite, so everyone’s on edge. “Doctors” in TV commercials tell us cigarette smoking is okay. Elvis Presley’s “Too Much” is the No. 1 song, “Around the World in 80 Days” wins the Oscar for best picture, and a new fast-food item known as “The Whopper” has just appeared at the mid-20th century price of 37 cents.
It’s instantly irresistible. Curious burger lovers say “I’ll take two” without fully considering the implications of what “whopper” means in a grilled beef context. They would soon find out.
Celebrating 64 years of fried fabulousness this weekend, Burger King is rolling back the price of its whoppingly successful creation by bringing back the 37-cent price point. We can just see Homer Simpson drifting off into drool mode, muttering “Whopper…37 cents…mmmmm.”
The ensuing episode would find Homer attempting to corner Springfield’s market on bargain-priced Whoppers in a get-rich-quick scheme as Mr. Burns menacingly says “excellent.”
It wouldn’t work for a few reasons. For starters, to get the deal, one must join BK’s Royal Perks rewards program. Plus, there’s a limit of one 1957-priced Whopper per account. Also, Mr. Burns would rather release the hounds than have anything to do with the beloved burger.
The special runs through Saturday (Dec. 4), so if you want a 37-cent Whopper, get moving.
Such promotions aren’t uncommon. McDonald’s recently celebrated the Egg McMuffin’s 50th anniversary by briefly dropping the price to 63 cents (when ordered through the app).
The whole thing got us thinking about other throwback deals marketers could employ to keep commerce rolling as we await news of the Martian COVID variant, arriving soon (probably).
There are no bad ideas in brainstorming. Remember that while we share some thoughts.
Here’s one: To get people using paper money again, the U.S. Treasury could issue a limited-edition “1957 $20 bill” adjusted for inflation, meaning it would be worth roughly $196.
We know that cash is on the outs, but this would be big. Better make it a very limited edition.
How about luxury brands? This one’s a crowd-pleaser with epic potential.
Let’s look at the classic Chanel Flap Bag, introduced in 1955 and selling new at the time for $220. As of November 2021, the bag now retails for $8,800. Yes, used Chanel Flap Bags can be found on Poshmark and other online marketplaces, but can you imagine the reaction to even a one-hour Chanel 1955 rollback pricing sale? eCommerce servers would burst into flames.
By the way, Chanel makes a perfume called “1957” that goes for about $200 a bottle. More than coincidence? No, it isn’t. But you must admit it complements our little exercise.
What about cars? The Chevrolet Corvette never goes out of style, and the 1957 model is considered the pinnacle of the line. Collectible as it comes — they now go for well over $100,000 — the car originally sold for $3,200. In 2021, a new Corvette costs a cool $60,000.
We want Chevy to think hard about this. Just one day. 1957 pricing. It’ll make retail history.
Our third and final outrageous promotion involves the digital device on which the 21st-century world is built — the computer. As news site Apple Insider reported in November, “An Apple-I computer, hand-built by Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak, sold at auction and fetched $500,000.” By comparison, the original Macintosh 128K model retailed for $2,495 in 1984.
The more we think about it, there’s no “throwback” price we can suggest in this scenario. How about just one hour in a single day of Apple’s choosing — and 37-cent iPhones?
Again, history-making. Like the Burger King Whopper.