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Posted by on Jun 24, 2009 in Economy, Media, Society | 24 comments

Burger King’s New Ad: A New Low In Vulgar Ads Aimed At Young Customers (UPDATED)


Just when you thought the vulgarization of culture that is now worldwide due to the unifying influence of cable, the Internet and You Tube can’t get any more vulgar, Burger King proves you wrong with news of its new advertising campaign for its “Super Seven Incher Sandwich” that’s fun for journalists to report on, will get lots of buzz but would hurt the company if it was unveiled even five years ago. It leaves nothing to the imagination.

(UPDATE: Burger King has a clarification that it sent Gawker — one that doesn’t negate the kind of criticism the corporation will be correctly getting. Basically, it says the attribution of the ad as given in the articles below is incorrect. But the corporation is not rejecting this kind of advertising that is going out under its name. Here’s Gawker’s update:
UPDATE #2At 10:19pm on Wednesday, we received this statement from Burger King via email:

Burger King Corporation (BKC) values and respects all of its guests. This advertisement is running to support a limited promotion in the Singapore market and is not running in the U.S. or any other markets. It was produced by a locally-based Singapore agency and not by BKC’s U.S. advertising agency of record, Crispin Porter and Bogusky.)

First look at the ad above. It’s almost condescending in the way it’s trying to grab young customers and assume this is how most young customers think and that they’ll approve of it. One of the puns for a journalist (or blogger) is obvious: it sucks.

It’s no secret that McDonald’s late founder Ray Kroc knew that just selling hamburgers and french fries wouldn’t do. He needed to create a whole experience. He wanted to make people think of McDonald’s and family – -and so Ronald McDonald and his friendly friends came upon the scene and so did the the McD’s jingles and playgrounds at his glorified burger joints. As a staff reporter for the San Diego Union newspaper I personally covered the opening of the first McDonald’s – or any fast food franchise — on a military base, when Kroc attended the opening of one of his restaurants at the Marine base Camp Pendleton. Kroc sat in his motorized wheel chair absolutely beaming as Ronald McDonald led the Marine band playing “You Deserve A Break Today.”

What great linkage: McDonald’s=Family. McDonald’s=The Military. McDonald’s=Children.

And Burger King? Not that we’re in the business of suggesting that corporations should bump their ad companies, but Gawker says it more bluntly than we can (WARNING: Some adults-only imagery):

The ad agency behind this is Crispin Porter Bogusky [SEE UPDATE ABOVE. BK SAYS IT WAS NOT DONE BY THAT AGENCY BUT BY ONE IN SINGAPORE} and just look what the ad wizards over there have come up with now to stop BK’s bleeding! I mean, what better way to sell oblong meat sandwiches than by suggesting fellatio?! How did they ever think of that? Just look at all that piping hot beef laden with creamy mayo aligned perfectly with the open mouth of a wide-eyed blonde, sitting just above the line “It’ll Blow Your Mind Away.” Who doesn’t want to run on down to BK for one of those right now? For benefit of those of you who don’t “get it,” this is what’s known as “branding” in the industry. Or something.

The Big Money headlines its entry “Burger King Blows Its Marketing Wad”:

Burger King’s (BKC) increasingly obnoxious attempts to lure young dopes to its horrible food may have gone too far this time. The likely slightly older (but award-winning!) dopes at Crispin Porter & Bogusky have come up with a print ad shamelessly evoking oral sex to peddle the “BK Super Seven Incher.”

I can’t help but imagine a fellow in a backward ball cap and cargo shorts, his pockets full of roofies, writing this copy for the oblong sandwich.

It offers the copy that’s going out on this “classic” ad:

IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND AWAY. Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER. Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A1 Thick and Hearty Steak Sauce.

Even in comedy comedians have a choice: go for the cheap, shock laugh and hope to score and be a hit, or go for sustained comedy (which could be G, PG or R versus hard X) but keep your dignity and a classy image.

Will this ad appeal to families?

No matter (apparently) since the point is: in this day and age ANY publicity (including a post like this) is considered success, as Utalk Marketing notes:

Only released, so far, in the US., the product and advertising could well be set to be rolled out in the UK.

Regardless of the sales made, we’re sure the Burger King suited executives are rubbing their hands together with glee at the PR being generated.

At the time of writing just 34 news articles on the subject had been written, according to Google.

But this one looks set to grow and grow, if you’ll excuse the pun!

QUESTION: If this ad is any indication, just what kind of playgrounds will Burger King start offering its customers?

UPDATE: The Miami New Times;’ blog headline is:”Burger King: “Put Our Seven Incher in Your Mouth Hole” ”

What are our dear friends at Burger King and Crispin Porter + Bogusky doing now? Making blowjob jokes about their new “Super Seven Incher” sandwich.

Congratulations, guys. Not only have you introduced your new disgusting-looking sandwich in the most disgusting-looking way (though you could have added a subtle dollop of mayo on the model/blow-up doll’s face), but also you’ve ruined the idea of oral sex for me for at least the next 15 minutes.

Every corporation has a corporate image. It’s hard to see how this will enhance Burger King’s — even if the ad gets a lot of publicity.

UPDATE II: If the corporation repudiated this kind of advertising going out under its name, it would change much of what appears in this post. Many corporations would squelch anything that could undermine a corporate image that has taken years and millions of dollars to create. In this case, the clarification sent to Gawker pointed out that its reports (and the other reports quoted here) were not correct in the attribution of who created this ad.

THE GOOD NEWS: Cripsin Porter & Bogusky apparently can’t take the blame for this one. But stories and posts continue to pop up on this ad — none of them painting Burger King as in the same classy class as other hamburger companies. Go HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE..or starters.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • DdW

    Could this be a case of “Honni soit qui mal y pense”?

    Don’t know. Only you can be the judge

  • When I first saw the ad, I thought it was a joke made with Photoshop…

    Also, I must say…

    I can’t help but imagine a fellow in a backward ball cap and cargo shorts, his pockets full of roofies, writing this copy for the oblong sandwich.

    …is somewhat offensive to me as I constantly wear cargo shorts and sometimes don my baseball cap backwards. I am proud to say, however, that I have never even seen a roofie.

    PS: what’s worse/ironic is that of the two fast-food burger joints (BK and McD), I prefer Burger King.

  • shannonlee

    We are such a pathetic country of prudes. Oh no, Boobies!!!! RUN!

  • Boobies? Where?!

    shannonlee, while I will concede that there are those who are overly offended by the seemingly inane, this instance is different.

    For me, it’s not about this ad being offensive or vulgar — after all, the Burger King corporation (and it’s parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies) are free to market however they see fit. I would argue however, that this is a HORRIBLE way to market what usually aspires to be a family-friendly restaurant (why else, as Joe aptly points out, would they have PLAYGROUNDS at many of their locations?).

    It’s bad marketing. Period.

    On the flip side, my kids will still want to play at their playgrounds and eat their value meals no matter what advertising is out there…

    • angelmorales

      Well, from someone in the kids marketing world, this is a “tough one to swallow”. It creates buzz, it is all over the web, and social media feeds on this sort of thing – so if that was CPB’s goal for their client, then job well done. However, timing here is horrible. The Transformer toys are hitting the stores as we speak – and they are to be a hit with kids. Traffic of kids and families is heavy to say the least due to the release of the movie. I would hate to be a parent walking in with my kids to BK and having to explain what is the meaning of all the jokes teenagers and young adults are cracking at the campaign.

    • Rambie

      It’s not the ad, it’s just your dirty mind. /snark

      I agree, I too thought the ad was a fake photo-shop job done by a 14 year old. Of course, the TV spot with the King in the bed with the other guy few years ago also didn’t make me want to run to the local BK.

  • Hey, any guys out there want to blow the seven incher? Even from a marketing standpoint, it’s insane. If the ad catches on, or even evokes snickers and jokes among teenagers, which it’s bound to, no teenage boy would be caught dead ordering one. Way to go, morons.

    • fiveeight


  • TT

    Prudish? You must be joking. Advertising like this, aimed at kids, is simply crude.

  • shannonlee

    It’s hardly bad marketing. If anything, it is creating a buzz. Nothing like getting free marketing from the far right. If this ad were to run in Europe, no one would give it a second thought.

  • DLS

    There’s nothing prudish about being offended about this, or rolling eyes upward at the stupidity of it. (Yes, a backward baseball cap and cargo shorts, and of course the loser’s shirt would _never_ be tucked in.)

    All they neglected was the older, simpler statement that would achieve the same effect.

    “Size Matters.”

  • Dangit, GreenDreams, you got to it before me! “Put our giant 7″ meat feast in your mouth hole” sounds like the tag line to a cheap gay porn flick. I mean, in my neighborhood, it would go over well, but they’d have to change the gender of the person in the ad.

  • shannonlee

    I’m not saying the ad is brilliant. I am just saying that getting upset about its vulgarity is silly. What is even worse is worrying about how it will hurt children.

    Sex and the human body is not demonized in Europe and they can still manage to raise well-adjusted children…that are healthier and better educated I might add.

    I am surprised we aren’t crying about the Jack in the Box ads aimed at stoners.
    “They’re trying to tell kids that getting high is cool!!!”

    Or what about the Carls Jrn ads with the hot woman riding a mechanical bull while eating a hamburger?

    “Where’s the beef” on that?

  • pacatrue

    Yeah, I agree this is over the top. It’s not actually that it’s a sex joke, but isn’t the idea of cramming a woman’s shocked mouth with lots of meat kind of… demeaning (not quite the word I’m looking for, but it’s a start)?

    It matters a lot to me who makes these jokes. If this was a funny video from, I wouldn’t have an issue at all. This is how they make their living, over the top sex jokes. Frequently funny. But when a major corporation makes it their slogan…. It’s like the difference between talking about oral sex with your friend versus with your dad. Thank you soooo much, dad, for never making blow job jokes.

  • DdW

    Thanks for translating this for others, Rambie

    “Honni soit qui mal y pense” = it’s just your dirty mind. /snark


  • smithfwe


  • Perhaps Burger King is going after the Calvin Klein kids?

    Calvin Klein billboard in Soho

    When you thought it could not get worst. . .

  • fiveeight

    Cry about it.

  • worryaboutsomethingimportant

    Crispin Porter + Bogusky didn’t even make that ad. Just ask Alex (@bogusky) himself…

    bogusky: The @Gawker gets it wrong. Next time take 30 seconds to check the facts before posting. Not our ad.

    To me, lazy journalism is infinitely more offensive than a tee-hee advertisement.

  • Oh, it’s meant for Singapore. Then that must be alright, huh? Perhaps BK will realize that the world is, well, global. Dumb ads, wherever they run, will be noticed.

    And hey, who’s “worried” or “upset” about this? Anyone? I think it’s hilarious and in case this is news to you, not everything in the blogosphere is about the most relevant issues.

    BK can now join some of the textbook marketing blunders, like:

    Chevy’s marketing in Mexico of the Nova (ahem, means no go in spanish)
    Toyota’s snickerable marketing of the MR2 in France (em ehr deux sounds like merde in French)
    Coke’s poor translation of “Coke adds life” to “brings your ancestors back from the dead” in Chinese.

  • big_mike

    It’s the verbiage that makes it so unnecessarily suggestive.
    The shape means nothing: Do you think what you’re thinking the ad’s suggesting when you have a hot dog, orgasmically slavered with mayonnaise and mustard and ketchup?
    Do you worry about your kids’ minds when you serve them sausage links?
    Does it become an ethnic sterotype when you eat a Polish sausage?
    It’s the copy, and it was unnecessary.:

  • Guest

    Is it any wonder why the Islamic world thinks we’re the “Great Satan”?

  • AnonymousAnon

    I would like to place my phallus inside of that young lady’s gaping mouth.

  • 1cherylcocos1

    Burger King is disgusting and completely disregards the average buyer with their low-class vulgar ads. The current ad with “small hands” and the guy asking “Can I hold it for you” — that’s a new low, even for Burger King.

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