Tags: Burger king | Tim Hortons | Tax

Is Burger King's Free Phone Giveaway A Tax Dodge?

Tuesday, 02 September 2014 11:29 AM Current | Bio | Archive

You may want to forget onion rings or a hot apple pie, because fast food has just gone high tech. Next time you order a Whopper, they might just ask you if you want a smartphone with that. Recently, select Burger King Restaurants kicked off an interesting new PR campaign. They are offering customers free Android smartphones with a two-year contract or upgrade with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.

Yes, seriously. No word on why T-Mobile was frozen out of this flame-broiled promotion, but the offer is for real.

The catch is that customers have to order the phones from the Burger King website using the promo code “Freephone.” The site is offering more than 30 devices to choose from, including the hot Samsung Galaxy S4 or the LG Optimus G Pro.

The phones would generally cost between $50 and $150 with a two-year contract.

A Burger King spokesman said his company was just looking out for its customers. “We wanted to make sure we took care of all the people who come to Burger King. You forget sometimes that only half the people have smartphones.”

The promotion was sure to kick off a huge round of social media public relations for Burger King. Initially — it did.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the other shoe to drop. Now critics are saying the promotion launch coincided a little too coincidentally with its talks to buy Canada’s Tim Hortons.

Why would that matter? Well, because critics are alleging Burger King is only making that offer to avoid a massive tax bill. Burger King absolutely refutes those accusations, but that only fueled the fire of critics.

The bottom line is that Warren Buffet plans to provide financing for Burger King’s purchase of Canadian chain Tim Horton’s, allows Burger King to pay Canadian tax rates.

While it is wholly natural for capitalists to take advantage of loopholes to maximize profit, there is something at least on its surface which is wrong here.

Cynics and critics are blasting Burger King on social media, complaining that the company is ducking its obligation to pay its fair share.

So, is the move a clever goodwill gesture or a cynical market distraction?

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.


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While it is wholly natural for capitalists to take advantage of loopholes to maximize profit, there is something at least on its surface which is wrong here.
Burger king, Tim Hortons, Tax
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 11:29 AM
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