If you’ve watched TV in the last few days, you may have seen a 15-second teaser for a new Burger King advertising campaign and website called Whopper Virgins. The premise? Burger King will beÂ going to the furthest reaches of the world, to find so-called “Whopper Virgins” who have never before tasted a Whopper. These individuals will then be givenÂ the opportunity to try both a Whopper, and a Big Mac. Burger King is calling this “The World’s Purest Taste Test”, and even feature a countdown clock on their website announcing when the results of this test (in the form of a documentary)Â will be revealed to the world:
The concept for the ad comes from Burger King’s ad agency, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. It’s a return to the “real life reactions” concept that worked so well for them with the highly succesful Whopper Freakout campaign, which I praised as “genius” when it was first released.
From an advertising standpoint, this is another brilliant move.Â Whopper’s whole argument against the Big Mac is predicated on taste – it just tastes better. Well good luck finding an American unaware of the brand association who can confirm that.Â Going to the other side of the world, finding people who have never eaten fast food, or maybe not even a burger, is in fact, a pretty cool way to do an objective taste test.Â However, as Adage, AdFreak, Huffington Post, Hot Air and Gothamist have reported, some people find the ads to be “offensive.” The blogger atÂ Inquisitr writes:
Itâ€™s hard to place exactly where this begins on the level of wrongness. The pipe flute South American music on the website, the pictures of people with horse and carts on one side, and on the other someone eating a Whopper. Hey, but thatâ€™s ok, because the testing was â€œdone by independent 3rd party testers.â€ I think Iâ€™m going to throw up now.
Inquisitr adds that the campaign is offensive because it consists of:
visiting poor people in remote locations, some who would be at best surviving on below poverty levels and throwing a burger in their faces
A commentor on the site further expounds:
It’s offensive because BK claims that “these people” are uncivilized by the fact they’ve never had a burger.
A commentor on the site WalletPop proclaims:
I just dislike the idea of going to some remote place and feeding indigenous tribes or impoverished people burgers that are full of fat, trans-fat and calories
First off, cram it, every single one of you. Second, try not to fall when you get off, because you are WAY too fucking high on your horse right now.
(Click below to read me flying further into a rage over these inane complaints.)
For starters, there is nothing in this campaign to indicate that Burger King is portraying these people as “uncivilized” because they haven’t eaten a Whopper. That’s just pure nonsense, so we can dismiss that suggestion as absurd on its face.
As for the comment about feeding impoverished people too much trans-fat and calories, well, whoever said that is a moron. First off, there is no indication that these people taking part in the taste test are, in fact, impoverished.Â Second, suggesting that they are “impoverished” just because they are from a non-modern part of the world, is, in and ofÂ itself, offensive.Â Third, if someoneÂ IS impoverished, getting tons of calories is a GOOD thing, not bad, and trans-fat is irrelevant.
As for the blogger at Inquisitr who laments the fact that they are “throwing a burger in their faces” um…what? No. They are giving people an opportunity to do a taste test of foods they have never experienced before.Â Whatever happened to embracing other cultures? Food is a part of culture, and it is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing, for people all around the world to have the experience of trying food from other cultures.
Take off your righteous American hat for a minute and think about if the situation were reversed.Â If one of the largest restaurant chains inÂ the PhillipinesÂ wanted to fly to the United StatesÂ and offer to let me taste a type of food I had never eaten before in my life, I would do that in a heartbeat.Â In fact, if I was to REFUSE to do that, wouldn’t that indicate a certain amount of closed-mindedness on my part by showing resistance to tryingÂ new foods fromÂ other cultures?Â How often do you get the opportunity to have food you have never tasted in your life, from the other side of the world, essentially delivered to your door? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t jump at that opportunity, because you would be all over that shit. Don’t apply a double standard here with your faux sympathy for the “impoverished” people you claim Burger King is exploiting.
For better or worse, Whoppers and Big Mac’s are a part of American food culture, and we should be thankful that people in the far reaches of the world, who could never afford to travel to a Burger King on their own, will get to experience eating a food they have never tasted before.Â Â Yeah, the food is semi-crappy, unhealthy and overprocessed, but so what? It’s food, it’s edible, it’s sometimes delicious, and people from the far reaches of the world will get to experience it and discover what part of the American fast food culture is about.
As for the idea that Burger King is somehow exploiting or mocking these people, there is absolutely nothing on the website so far that indicates that this documentary they are releasing will do so.Â In fact, all that’s really on the website right now, is a lot of really, really good photography and a countdown clock.
The Whopper Virgins documentary is being made by Stacy Peralta, director of award-winning movies like the skateboarding flick “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and the surfing documentary “Riding Giants.” There is nothing so farÂ to indicate that this documentary will be anything but tastefully produced.
So basically as I said before, all you haters can cram it. This is a briliant marketing idea and I’m sure that all the people who got to try an American hamburger for the first time were thankful for the opportunity.
Update: As a thank you to the villages for hosting them, Burger King donated educational supplies and children’s toys in Thailand and Greenland. The company helped fund restoration of a 17th century church in Romania. So in addition to giving people the opportunity to try a food they have never tasted before, they benefited with toys, educational supplies and a refurbished church. I ask you, would these people have been better off taking part in this experience or not taking part in this experience? Seems to be a pretty clear answer to me.
I look forward to the release of this documentary and the results of this taste test.Â For those who haven’t seen it yet, check out the 15-second Whopper Virgins teaser ad below: