By R.C. Seely

IS BURGER KING THE king of burgers? Hard to say since the Burger industry has so many choices. And the king has decided to go social activists rather than focus on their product.

Starting with a misleading video on Net Neutrality, the chain now introduced an anti-bullying PSA.

Now what’s wrong with that? You might be asking. It could be nothing, but it gives the impression that they care more about social justice than their customers.

Take the new ad, they have teen actors pretend to bully another teen and send their customers “bullied” burgers, and record the reactions. Will the customers be more upset about the burgers or the bullied? If it were me, I’d be furious that they care more about catering to activists than to paying customers.

I don’t go to Burger King often, so losing my business would be imperceptible to their bottom line but that they value their customers, so little is troubling. Especially when the market has so many options and burgers, are not their only competition. Fast food and restaurants are a demonstration of the success possible in the free market.

If examined, there are probably already signs of distress within the company because this. Keep in mind this merely speculation on my part.

Besides the willingness to dismiss their customers, the causes they are advancing, and the marketing campaigns are baffling. So far, Net Neutrality and bullying are their causes. And both campaigns have issues; the Net Neutrality one is blatantly wrong in their analogy and the bullying one is inviting a lawsuit.

Either they don’t understand Net Neutrality, or they are on the wrong side. To do their concept accurately it would have to be, the customers getting more than the asked for. Net Neutrality using their burger analogy would be the customer orders a a burger and they are served the burger and a chicken sandwich, fries, a chocolate shake, a dessert and everything else off the menu. Or they never get the burger at all and only get everything else that you don’t want.

As for the other ad, I’m confused exactly what they were expecting the customers in their establishment to do. Verbally confront the “bullies?” But what if the patrons turned violent on the actors? That’s not even all that unlikely given how passionately people have gotten on the issue. Or worse what if one of the patrons were armed? Is the little impromptu theater worth the life of one of these actors? It’s not the patrons’ responsibility to make and keep a safe environment, it’s the business owners.

However you look at it, this idea by Burger King management is asking for trouble, starting with that it appears both ads are online only. The chain could have put these ads online and on TV, a plan that would make more sense. Maybe it’s just my skeptical nature, but when things don’t add up, it generally is because of the worst case scenario. In this case, I suspect they are trying to reach a specific demographic, the youth. Those passionate youth, that will cause “the next social revolution” and won’t question these causes. Can we just get the fries and hold the social justice, please?

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has written books on pop culture and has an upcoming new release–Confused Yet?: Understanding the Utterly Incomprehensible.

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