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Burger King’s Whopper Virgins

December 11, 2008


For the full video feature go to www.whoppervirgins.com

For a few days now I have been preoccupied with Burger King’s latest, seemingly controversial advertising campaign. Let me explain.

A tweet update takes me off to www.whoppervirgins.com and before I realise I’ve been taken off guard. My attention is drawn to the quality of the video I’m watching on the screen. Somehow, I’m seeing a high quality image without the usual pixellation I experience with an image of this size.

The player is set in a tasty black background. It communicates something. It communicates something serious, something slightly off the wall and yet considered at the same time.

When my eyes rest on the Burger King logo in the bottom left hand corner of the screen I find myself conflicted. This is a fast-food outlet and yet the sight of the page communicates something different.

Then there’s the video content itself. There’s a simple idea being communicated with an original notion being tested. Are the most accurate taste-testers those who’ve never tasted a burger before and, where exactly do we find those people?

In case you’re wondering, I hadn’t read over any other blog comments about Burger King’s latest campaign, so I came to this fresh.

The idea of the film seemed like a good one. There was something engaging about the idea of taking as much portable cooking equipment to far flung corners of the world and cooking up a burger for someone who’s never seen one before.

The way the video was shot communicated with me. This was proper video on the web. It was nearly eight minutes too and I was watching all the way to the end. This was breaking the three minute rule I’ve heard so much about recently.

Yes, the idea did slowly creep into my head about whether or not it was right. Was there an unpleasant after taste here? (Please forgive the pun.) I wasn’t necessarily seeing the poverty that some people say was obvious to all, instead I saw happy people dressed in their traditional garb. Even so, should we really be introducing something alien into a culture just for the sake of advertising?

That was a personal reaction based on very little researched information about Burger King or it’s rivals come to that. Free of the comments posted in response to the video I engaged with it afresh – not unlike the people who tasted their first burger really. The truth is, I didn’t get to the end of it and feel certain those contributors had been exploited. Everyone seemed reasonably happy (although admittedly, we didn’t necessarily get to see any footage of people really unhappy).

What spoke to me more was the initial idea and the way it was executed. I found myself engaged when I watched and whether it’s right or wrong, I found myself convinced that I would probably go for a Whopper rather than a Big Mac in future. And I found myself wanting a blog posting about it. Surely the digital agency behind it Crispin Porter + Bogusky  ticked all the boxes they needed to?

But if you’re reading this and thinking that I’m just another gullible so-and-so taken in by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, you’re missing one fundamental point.

I might think I like the idea of a Whopper burger more than a Big Mac but Burger King, like their rivals, is going to have to go a long long way before I feel comfortable buying one. Give me the choice between a restaurant or a fast food outlet and the sight of the latter is sure to persuade me to get me a table and sit down and take an hour to eat.

I just don’t enjoy the fast-food burger purchasing experience. It’s loud, it’s bright and invariably the places stink of chip fat and bleach. The floor is usually sticky underfoot and if I’ve braved the counter and ordered one the prospect of eating a burger inside fills me with fear and dread. Seeing as I object to people eating their burger on the tube, I realise the only place I can eat mine is on the street. And there ain’t any way I’m going to do that.

Burger King, KFC and MacDonalds have some way to go yet.

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2 Comments
  1. Did you get a chance to check out the new viral campaign for Disney? I found it kind of unique, but the premise is relatively smple. You fill out a sign up sheet and list a few of your friends to receive an email. When they get the email there is a link to a news report telling them that for the coming year, the Disney theme park is dedicated to them. Through the wonders of digital editing and what not, they create a video where many of the places around the park now carry the recipients name, the Main Street theater has their name on the marque, some of the rides are renamed after them, the banner in the Main Street parade has their name, even Mickey, Donald and Goofy are there when they talk about how the Mickey Mouse theme is reworked for the current year with the receiver’s name. I did a quick tryout of the video with my own name (I am not big on sending out bulk emails myself) and while I wouldn’t send it to others for the very reason I just stated, I found the campaign to be at least a little clever. Here is a link to the video I created if you want to check it out http://www.sun7news.com/index.php?code=529QN9WkP083eVT941Sp&CMP=OTC-WWYCOVS1001

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