The Mouldy Whopper

An ad campaign has broken out into the REAL WORLD! News outlets are reporting on it! Twitter is in a heightened state of stimulation! LinkedIn’s Creative Strategists are debating its merits!

And you can’t ask for more than that, can you?

Well, maybe.

Look, I get it. It passed the first test, one that almost ad ads fail at: it’s been noticed. And not just noticed, but Noticed. Like. A. Motherfucker. I haven’t been able to move for mouldy Whoppers jamming up my interweb.

And the whole reason it’s being noticed is down to a genuine dramatisation of a genuine product attribute: unlike McDonald’s burgers, the thing actually goes mouldy (eventually)! According to the news link above, Burger King…

…plans to get rid of preservatives from the burgers served in all of its restaurants this year.

By the end of 2020, it said all food items – including sandwiches, sides and desserts – will be free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives in the US and select European countries, including Germany and the UK.

…Leading to pictures of a burger that has gone mouldy, and that’s original, different and interesting, but also gross, and stomach-turning, and off-putting. But message delivered engagingly, and understood. JOB DONE!

So why do I have a bit of a quibble here? Am I really going to pedantically burrow under its skin to see if it’s really worth all the kudos?

Of course I am!

1. Lame flex. Your burger goes mouldy after 34 days? So it fucking should. This is like Google saying ‘Don’t be evil’. A very low bar. But hey! That’s better than McDonald’s (when they eventually make good on that promise IN TEN MONTHS’ TIME).

2. This highlights how it’s taken till 2020 for them to take on this INCREDIBLE INITIATIVE! They couldn’t remove the artificial preservatives in 2008, or 2015? Slow handclap, boys and girls.

Fernando Machado, Burger King Restaurant Brands international global chief marketing officer, added: “At Burger King restaurants, we believe that real food tastes better.

“That’s why we are working hard to remove preservatives, colours and flavours from artificial sources from the food we serve in all countries around the world.”

So… you still make shitty food? Er… nice one.

3. People who go to Burger King don’t give a fuck about artificial preservatives. That’s why they go to Burger King. Do you think anyone, I mean anyone on the entire fucking planet, was thinking, ‘I do fancy the idea of a grease/MSG-laden fast food burger, but I’m kind of concerned that they might use artificial preservatives’. Of course not. If you care about that kind of thing you eat elsewhere.

4. Burger king have been letting customers experience mouldy burgers for years.

5. These pictures are disgusting. Maybe the stand-out is worth the reduced appetite appeal, but is that an inside advertising thing? I just can’t imagine your average Joe walking past these images and thinking ‘That’s clever. Burger King have taken a bit of risk there by showing us how mouldy their burgers get as a way of dramatising their new policy of removing artificial preservatives (that I didn’t know or care that they used anyway)’.

So, y’know. I’m glad there’s another brave, talked-about, seemingly-admired campaign out there just in time for Cannes the planet’s new-found love of healthy fast food.

But am I convinced? Put it this way, I’m not in a rush to visit the nearest BK’s (and yes, I am an occasional customer).