So there's a lot of fuss about the new Burger King "Documentary" about tracking down so-called "Whopper Virgins" for an "independent tasting experience". At first glance, I thought the whopper virgin thing wasn't a bad idea. I myself am a huge whopper fan. In fact, I've annoyed countless co-travellers with my whopper obsession. There's no Burger King in Belgium, so whenever I go abroad, I track down a Burger King joint for a much-needed fix.
But then I saw who the actual 'whopper virgins' were. This campaign doesn't hunt down US or UK citizens who have yet to experience the awesome power of biting into a delicious whopper. Instead, they're introducing burgers to "natives" in places that look like a backdrop for a Borat movie. Hmmmm... Making a villager's life better with a US burger, ey? So you're basically pushing burgers to people who can't afford to buy a tv and watch the ad they're featured in.
But wait, it gets worse...
The villagers are also asked to compare the Whopper to a Big Mac. Which begs the question: "How are you getting a fresh Big Mac and/or Whopper to the top of a Russian mountain?"
Here's my beef (yeahyeah) with this ad. It's not the idea. (Taste test with 'virgins': ok.) It's not about bringing fast food to far-off countries. (I'm in the capital of Europe and even I can't get one. What's up with that?) It's about the execution. I like the idea of doing a taste test with people who have not been influenced by marketing. But you have to be careful because 'not yet influenced by marketing' can easily flip into 'has not yet entered modern civilisation'.
The thing that surprised me most about the "documentary", though is hidden in the credits...
The director: Stacy Peralta.
Yes, that one.
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This guy was a total childhood hero of mine. He basically invented street skateboarding. I even bought the Powell Peralta T-bones for my skateboard somewhere in the late eighties. Peralta was an icon of independence. He became an "independent documentary maker" later on. I have no qualms about punk heroes going commercial. But this one is just way off the mark.
Too bad, because I really really liked the other stuff BK was doing, like the Seth MacFarlane cavalcade sponsorship (which, coincidence or not, also featured some natives chasing down 'The King').
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The "World Premiere" of "Whopper Virgins" will be posted HERE.