Burger King Makes a Mess With Chopsticks

Burger King has global reach. They want to appeal to every customer of every demographic. To do that, they occasionally branch out and try something new. This past April, the company promoted a burger inspired by Asian ingredients. They decided to relay their message with chopsticks. They made a mess.

The burger in question was the Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp. The ad had patrons clumsily try to eat it with huge red chopsticks with the caption, “Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City”. It was posted to the company’s New Zealand Instagram account. The backlash was swift, the ad was removed, and Burger King released the following statement:

“The ad in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion. We have asked our franchise in New Zealand to remove the ad immediately.”

The incident was the latest example of a company (Dove, Heineken) missing the mark in an effort to become more relevant and relatable to consumers. When asked about the ad, Maria Mo, a New Zealander of Korean descent, made her stance clear, “To me, it was just another portrayal of Asian culture that narrowed it down to a caricature.” Humor in advertising is a risk, but fast food chains do it routinely. However, what is funny to some, offends others.

Not only was the ad an example of a brand failing at humor, but also an example of consumer power. Beth Egan, an advertising professor at Syracuse University, was paraphrased in an article in The Washington Post saying, “Ten years ago, a brand may have blasted out a single TV commercial intended for a large bloc of customers… without much risk of an online backlash… But with social media, we’re expecting brands to know something about us.”

  • SOURCE: The Washington Post
  • BRAND: Burger King
  • WHY YOU WON’T LOVE IT: It’s another case of a brand not taking into account cultures & perspectives

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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