Philippine News

Brand & Business: Jollibee’s Iconic Champ, its Biggest and Juiciest Burger, Bids Goodbye as it Gets Phased Out in 2020

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – As the last days of the decade that was the 2010s drew to a close, the Philippines was beset by rumors of something seemingly unthinkable. A long-time favorite for generations was leaving, never to return. Initially, the word spread via social media and that was enough to trigger an audience that had long neglected this favorite in lieu of other, less worthy choices. Yes, 2020 not only meant the dawn of a new decade, it also meant that Jollibee’s popular Champ, the company’s biggest and juiciest burger, was going to be discontinued.

The social media uproar was palpable, particularly because the Champ’s phaseout was happening at almost the same time that another popular staple for decades was closing its doors for good. Harrison Plaza, the first commercial mall in the Philippines, was finally bidding adieu to a landscape that had seen it grow old and cast aside as new, more modern malls had been springing up left and right. The double heartbreak that meant both Harrison Plaza and the Champ would no longer be a part of Filipino lives was almost too much to bear for many so soon in the new year.

“It has been the subject of discussion for quite some time as we make it a point to regularly review our menu offerings,” shares Arline Adeva, Assistant Vice-President for Brand Communications, PR, and Digital Marketing of Jollibee Foods Corporation. In an adobo magazine exclusive, Adeva added, “There has not been much activity for Champ in the past few years, and we thought this was a good time to phase it out so we can re-evaluate the product and its role in our portfolio.”


Introduced in 1984, alongside a mascot dressed in the trunks and robes of a boxer, the Champ was meant to be Jollibee’s heavyhitter in the growing burger wars that are still ongoing to this day. With ¾ pounds of beef, lettuce, a tomato, and those unmistakable juices captured between two huge buns, the Champ was a mouthful, a precursor to what has since become an escalating rise in size and heft of burgers from both big and independent quick service restaurants (QSRs).

Much like the Yumburger, Chickenjoy, Palabok Fiesta, and Jolly Spaghetti, the Champ was seemingly a cornerstone that Jollibee built on as it began to expand beyond Philippine shores. Yet the truth of the matter is that the Champ, alongside fellow phaseout victim the Big Burger Steak meal, was simply not being ordered enough by Jollibee patrons. It may seem harsh, yes, but if something on the menu does not move and is overlooked in favor of other menu items, then it ceases to deliver on a company’s bottom line.

The uproar caused many to reminisce about their favorite memories of ordering the Champ from their childhood while also lamenting that some good things just don’t last. Others bemoaned the fact that people were belatedly complaining about the Champ’s imminent departure yet those same people weren’t ordering the burger in the first place.

“We know that there are a lot of Champ lovers out there, but we were really overwhelmed with the extent of the public’s reaction when we announced the phaseout,” Adeva says. “It just shows that Jollibee’s food offerings – very much like the brand itself – have really been a part of Filipino lives and they have so many wonderful memories attached to it.”

So strong were the tremors on social media that long-time Jollibee rival McDonald’s doubled down on their own massive burger offering, the Big Mac, and proudly posted on social media that it is “Here to stay.”

“We just remained silent and didn’t see the need to react especially after reading all the comments of the netizens,” is Adeva and JFC’s response to the shade thrown their way. “We saw a lot of posts saying how much Filipinos truly love the Champ and how delicious and special it is for them. In the end, the voice of the customers outweighs it all.”

Still, even after the perceived reigniting of the burger wars with that act, the audience is still left with this simple fact in 2020: the Champ is gone. But is it gone for good or can a comeback be expected soon?

“Yes, definitely,” Adeva notes with conviction. “Jollibee’s product offerings are being reviewed regularly to meet our customer’s demands so there’s always a chance that old Jollibee classics – including the Champ – may return in the near future.”

She adds that, “We have a lot of exciting innovations planned for our Burgers lines as well as other bestsellers and new products this 2020 that will surely delight our customers.”

So, fear not, Filipino burger lover! All hope is not lost! There is a chance, albeit small and far into the future, that your favorite heavyweight from your childhood steps into the ring once more and rise from the ashes to uppercut the competition.

In the meantime, Arline and Jollibee would like to leave you with the following message of gratitude and appreciation as we now face the Champ-less world before us: “We are just happy and grateful that the Champ had played a joyful part in many of our customers’ lives and that they made it known to the world how much it will be missed. We can’t wait to offer our customers with new and exciting products that will bring as much joy to them and their families.”


About the Author:

Jason Inocencio was once the Digital Editor of adobo magazine who still loves seeing great campaigns from all over the world. He proudly shows off his love for all kinds of geeky things, whether it be movies, TV shows, comics, sports, or trivia.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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