Photo of two burgers sitting on a table in an A&W Restaurant. A table tent that says

10/19/21 - A&W Rebounds From ‘Worst Marketing Fail’ With Burger for Math-Challenged Americans

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – Get out your calculators. A&W Restaurants is releasing a cleverly rebranded ⅓ lb. burger to make amends for a decades-old marketing mishap that’s seen renewed interest on social media lately. Just check out this Instagram post. Oof!

In the 1980s, A&W tried to compete with the immensely popular McDonald’s Quarter Pounder by offering a bigger, juicier ⅓ Pound Burger at the same price. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t so great at math. Confused consumers wrongly assumed that ¼ was bigger than ⅓ (You know, because 4 is bigger than 3) and the whole experiment went down in history as a huge marketing fail

The beloved QSR chain—founded in 1919 and the oldest in America—has spent every waking moment since this embarrassing fiasco crunching the numbers, employing a team of top mathematicians and the creative services of ad agency CORNETT in an attempt to bounce back with a burger so big and a message so clear that no one in their right mind would think it’s smaller than a puny Quarter Pounder.

And they’ve done it!

Forget everything you know about fractions and wrap your beautiful mind and watering mouth around the whopping A&W 3/9 lb. Burger. 

The A&W 3/9 lb. Burger is a remarkable achievement in the field of beef mathematics and advertising arithmetic based on a groundbreaking discovery: Bigger numbers are better numbers. After all, if people thought ¼ was bigger than ⅓, then they should think 3/9 is way way WAY bigger. Right?

A&W is launching the 3/9 lb. Burger with a dramatic reenactment of the “Eureka!” moment that led to this possibly Nobel Prize-winning revelation. That video, featuring mascot and math prodigy Rooty the Great Root Bear solving the unsolvable equation in his study, is the centerpiece of a paid media campaign that will run throughout the promotion. It can be viewed HERE.   

In addition (math pun), a number (another math pun?) of creative assets like window clings, table tents, branded memes and GIFs were created for the promotion. These are available HERE.

Fans of big burgers and big digits are encouraged to grab an A&W 3/9 lb. Burger from any of A&W’s 525 US locations while supplies last. If sold out, a 2/6 lb. Burger can be specially made at no extra charge.

Of course, no matter what you call it, the important thing to remember is that the A&W 3/9 lb. Burger is made from 100% U.S. Beef and is 33.333333333333333333333% bigger than any quarter-pound competitor.

This incredible feat of ingenuity and inspiring comeback story is all part of the A&W commitment to quality and a steadfast refusal to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

“This story has been circulating for years,” said Liz Bazner, Director of Marketing at A&W, “and every few months it seems to gain momentum and reappear on social media. We’ve gotten tons of questions about it, but prior to now we haven’t been proactive about setting the record straight. We’re excited to have found a way to finally let America know that our burgers really are bigger and really are better.”

The A&W 3/9 lb. Burger. It’s bigger, genius.