Burger King can run hot or cold with its marketing. Sometimes you have to wonder who came up with a concept. Other times, the marketing department and ad agency set off a great zinger. A new campaign, announced today, is largely witty and manages to smartly latch on to the trending tech theme of artificial intelligence.

At the same time, there's something questionable in some of the work, with a #metoo problem. We'll get to that toward the end.

First, for the fun. The company claims that it had AI software develop its new ads, as the press release says:

The BURGER KING brand is testing a BETA version of a new deep learning algorithm that could give a glimpse into what the future of marketing and communications could look like. By tapping into A.I. to create a new advertising campaign, the brand is developing an innovative business model called Project: AOR, moving from the traditional Agency of Record to an Agency of Robots.

In reality, while the company may (or may not) have had software run through fast food commercials, there were clearly people behind this, picking and piecing together phrase while grabbing footage from previous commercials and intentionally badly overdubbing actors. All voices are obviously robotic deliveries.

Here's one where you're told to "have it Norway," with a twist on the old "have it your way" catch phrase.

"Math is tasty," so "eat the math."

The potato deserved this.

The chicken crossed the road to become a sandwich. Bed of lettuce for you to sleep on. The chicken sandwich from Burglar King.

The Whopper lives in a bun mansion. Just like you. Order yourself today. And have it Uruguay.

And here's one more, which brings up the aroma of a problem.

"We see the Burger King. He is creepy, but he wears the head crown, so it is fine," goes the narration while the King kisses the hand of a young woman and then, a few seconds later, hugs her.

Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but I think much of the country might be as well. The notion of men using power to exert social, economic, and sexual dominance over women has become a flash point. Any sort of corporate communications a company does has to keep this in mind.

There is a definite creepy vibe to the Burger King character. (And, in passing, just where did the link between the character to the word "creepy" come in? Through one of the industry research competitive reports the release mentioned?)

Getting some distance by making it manifest might make sense. But surely there must have been a way to do so without trying the company to the concept of a creepy guy hitting on a young woman.

Overall, a decent set of ads, with that serious slip. Time for more review of the creative before setting it live.

Published on: Sep 27, 2018