If there’s one thing we have learned over the years, it’s that Burger King loves beef; in their burgers and with their audience. How else do you explain the company’s controversial marketing techniques? The latest campaign to come under fire is Burger King Austria’s Pride Whopper.
Burger King Austria announced on their Instagram page that they’d be launching a Pride Whopper with two equal buns; two tops or two bottoms. This move was to show that the brand supported “equal love and equal rights.” The Pride Whopper is available until June 20.
“We stand for the equal rights of all identities and sexual orientations,” the post’s caption reads. “A little twist to put a smile on your face and remind us to treat each other respectfully and peacefully. No matter who you are and who you love.”
The move was supposed to be a touchy-feely one but instead invited major backlash for the brand. Many people called it a poor marketing move, while others found it plainly distasteful. Some people did say it was funny, but the majority of people didn’t like it. Let’s have a look at this controversy.
Burger King Pride Whopper Controversy
As I said, Burger King Austria launched a Pride Whopper with two equal buns; two tops and two bottoms. The move was to support and show solidarity to the LGBTQ+ community but offended many. The reason? This move, which is an innuendo, by the way, stereotypically generalized the community.
Even though the brand intended to pay homage to the community, the announcement left many dumbfounded as to what was the need. Many felt there could’ve been a better way to do the same. In addition to all this, it is also unclear if any part of the sales with be donated to organizations working to empower the LGBTQ+ community.
Although many agree that this was a marketing move gone wrong, people are also naming it an act of “rainbow-washing” to get the attention of the LGBTQ+ community and join the bandwagon of Corporate Pride. Let’s see some of the people voicing their feelings on Twitter.
How Are People Reacting To Pride Whopper?
People called the marketing move “a hard miss.” After the announcement, one person on Instagram said, “As a gay person, this is the funniest thing I have ever seen, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop laughing.” While some think this was hilarious, others argue that it was very offensive and distasteful.
The reason behind the backlash is the people believe that this was only a surface-level action and didn’t have any meaningful impact on the community, thus labeling it as “rainbow washing.” Here are some tweets that show people’s reactions towards the Pride Whopper.
Burger King Has A Long History With Controversies
This might be the freshest one, but this is not the first controversy Burger King has been in over the years. From moldy burgers to making misogynist remarks, Burger King’s campaigns have come under a lot of fire in the previous years. Let’s look at some of Burger King’s controversies over the years.
1. Burger King’s Women’s Day Controversy
A few years back, Burger King made a tone-deaf and slightly misogynist tweet stating, “Women belong in the kitchen.” The tweet was part of a thread highlighting the disparity of women chefs in the industry. Later in the thread, Burger King said that it wanted to offer women scholarships for female employees so that they could achieve their culinary dreams.
The gesture in itself was great, but it was the first tweet that garnered the attention and met with massive backlash. This was because women thought this stated the sexist stereotypes women have been dealing with. Making such a statement, no matter what followed, was not right. Of course, the chain apologized, but it was forgiven, not forgotten.
2. The No-Shit Ice Cream
Most fast-food chains would steer clear of comparing their food items with feces, but Burger King is not like most fast-food chains. Burger King Brazil launched a campaign in which they compared their chocolate soft-serve with shit. The irony here is that they wanted to affirm that their ice cream was clean, or in their words, free of shit.
The commercial from the campaign included the statement, “ice cream that looks like shit, to remind people it’s free from artificial shit.” it even used the iconic poop emoji to show literal representation. The campaign, even though controversial, was actually named the best campaign of the year.
3. The Moldy Whopper
A few years back, Burger King, intending to show that their food was preservative-free, shot a Whopper for 28 days while becoming moldy over time. This was definitely a bold move but repulsed the majority of people that watched the video. In a bid to do something different, Burger King made something that repelled many, even though it got the attention.
Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer for Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, gave an interview to USA Today. In the interview, he said, “The beauty of real food is that it gets ugly. It’s common knowledge that real food deteriorates quicker because it is free of artificial preservatives.”
“Instead of featuring our Whopper sandwich with the classic flawless and often too perfect photographic style typically used in fast food advertising, we decided to showcase something real, honest, and that only Burger King could do.”
4. The Real Meal
In opposition to McDonald’s Happy Meal, Burger King released their “Real Meals” with the tagline “No One Is Happy All The Time.” In contrast to the happy ones, the meals had an overall moody and had unique names. The meals included Pissed Meal, the Blue Meal, the Salty Meal, the DGAF Meal, and the YAAAS Meal.
This stirred controversy with people who accused Burger King of using mental health as a marketing gimmick. It was especially criticized as the move came during Mental Health Awareness Month. Also, matching mood to meals seemed like a big job as many people avoided it.
So, this was all about Burger King’s Pride Whopper controversy. Do you think the move for two equal buns was offensive, or did you find it funny? Let me know in the comments. This was all from me. I’ll see you next time. Until then, take care and happy eating!