Burger King’s New Side Item: Free Smartphones. No, Really.

Burger King’s New Side Item: Free Smartphones. No, Really.

Forget “Want fries with that?” Burger King is now asking customers, “Want Moto X with that?”

In a move that I can describe only as bizarre, the fast-food joint unveiled a new promotion yesterday to help promote its new app: A free smartphone when you buy a Whopper with cheese. Okay, I made that last part up: You don’t have to buy a Whopper.

But the phone deal is real: BK has a wide selection of models — mostly last year’s, but still some solid picks — that won’t cost you a dime. You will, however, have to sign up for (or renew) a two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. And from there, all the usual monthly fees apply.

Before you — sorry — bite into this seemingly tasty offer, however, make sure it’s really a good deal. For example, BK offers such popular phones as the HTC One M7, LG G2, Motorola Moto X, and Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (or Mini). And you can’t beat free, right?

Maybe not, but plenty of other sellers come close. Best Buy, for example, currently has the Galaxy S4 for $0.95 — again with a two-year contract — from any of the aforementioned carriers. Same goes for the LG G2, though it’s much “pricier” at $1. And you can get the HTC One M7 through Amazon for a penny.

And, really, does this come as a surprise? I can sort of understand BK wanting to drive attention to its new app, which serves up coupons and helps you find nearby stores, but it’s pretty naive to think, “Wow, Burger King has the best deal on smartphones!” Because of course they don’t. And ordering a phone from Burger King is no more beneficial than ordering food from Burger King. In fact, it’s kind of weird.

Maybe BK should stick with proven marketing methods, like free or BOGO food items. Heck, stock the app with a Flappy Bird clone (Flappy Burger?) that you can’t play anywhere else. I suspect that would attract a lot more new customers than a free phone that’s not really free.

Veteran technology writer Rick Broida is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC World and Wired.

(Source: Savings.com)

Rick Broida has spent the last 25 years writing about technology in all its forms. A self-proclaimed cheapskate, he authors an eponymous blog for CNET. He is also a contributor to CNET's iPhone Atlas and Ehow Tech. Broida's book credits include the best-selling "How to Do Everything with Your Palm Handheld" and the more recent "The Cheapskate Rules: 21 Easy Money-Saving Tech Secrets."

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