The idea was that Burger King would send a team of documentarians into some of the remotest corners of civilized society — In Greenland, Romania, Thailand — toting with them the means to deliver Whoppers and Big Macs.
“We wanted to see how the Whopper would perform in a world that didn’t have ad or marketing awareness or any sentimental attachments” to either brand, Russ Klein, president of global marketing, strategy and innovation at Burger King Holdings told The WSJ.
The producers also brought an unbiased judge with them to make sure the two brands of burgers were made and delivered according to specifications.
The product of the campaign ended up being closer to a documentary than a commercial. Its impact on society stirred outrage at first. Rights groups claimed — truthfully — that the millions of dollars spent making a movie could have gone to ending hunger.
They also leveled the charge that Burger King visited areas stricken by hunger, and that the company deliberately omitted mention this detail — Burger King denied that charge, stating that food in those areas was “bountiful.”
Whatever the case, the ad ending up being profound outside of just dollars and cents; watching people spend minutes trying to wrap their heads around the hamburger, then realising they’ve been paid to take part in a survey.
So they have to eat it.
Then the people try to figure out how to eat it.
The results are awkward in a way that forces the viewer to try and comprehend what it means to grow up in a society completely devoid of hamburgers.
Such a society is very difficult to find, admits one of the producers, certainly “nowhere” in America because of America’s “exposure to advertising.”
Strange, you recognising their ignorance is the same as recognising the face in the mirror.
Truly an interesting little case study into advertising and society, intentional or not.
For comparison, here’s Andy Warhol eating a hamburger:
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