Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Companies often try to set the tone for their brands.
They sit down with ad agencies, work up some single-word descriptions, add a few more single words and hope that the way they communicate to customers matches those words.
Then the creative team tries to ignore those words and does something it believes will work.
For a long time, McDonald's was associated with being bright, cheerful and happy.
What could be more emblematic of that than the Happy Meal? And that large, bright clown whose presence seems to have abated of late.
Yet now Burger King has struck on an idea that has controversial tinges.
It's released an ad boldly declaring that it's not compulsory to be happy.
In addition, it's offering what it calls Real Meals.
These are in boxes with subdued colors to reflect moods like Blue and Pissed.
Naturally, this isn't some permanent turn in Burger King's image.
Instead, it's all to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month and the boxes will only appear at five restaurants in New York, Austin, Los Angeles, Miami Beach and Seattle.
Still, there are many layers to this work.
Humans do have a habit of using products to cheer themselves up.
The effect is very temporary, of course.
Yet brands pander to those needs by offering bright, shiny images and suggesting their essential cheeriness will reflect back onto the product's users.
Here, Burger King is showing its customers it understands their daily lives may not be so cheery.
Inside the Real Meal boxes are the same old Whopper, Fries and a drink.
It's inevitable, then, that some will suggest this is Burger King's way of getting unhappy people to buy unhealthy food, which will ultimately make them more unhappy.
Burger King insists:
No one is happy all the time. And that's ok. That's why we created Real Meals in partnership with Mental Health America to encourage everyone to come in and #FeelYourWay.
I wonder how many customers will appreciate the sentiment. And how many will merely be reminded of how awful they happen to feel.