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.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.