If you're a fan of Burger King's Whopper, this is sort of a good news/bad news type of thing. The good news is, the company is apparently planning to rid its signature product of preservatives by the end of the year. The bad news is that Burger King thought you should see what that means. Or, more specifically, what it looks like. After 34 days.
Look, no one chooses fast food because they think it's good for them. We eat it because it's convenient and generally inexpensive. At the same time, any time a company like Burger King takes steps to make their food a little less bad for us, that's a good thing. Removing preservatives is a good first step. McDonald's recently did the same.
Of course, McDonald's also produced a hamburger that managed to survive mostly intact for 21 years, according to Popular Mechanics. Those are some serious preservatives. No wonder companies are rethinking whether that's such a good idea.
If you're curious, here's the ad. Warning, it's kind of gross:
the beauty of real food is that it gets ugly. that's why we are rolling out a whopper free from artificial preservatives. coming by the end of 2020 to all restaurants in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/yQL6kAYZrY-- Burger King (@BurgerKing) February 19, 2020
If you're going to order a Whopper, I recommend eating it before it looks like the one in the ad, but that's probably beside the point. In fact, I'm not entirely sure I'll be ordering a Whopper any time soon with that picture stuck in my mind.
That said, here's the point. Two, actually.
The goal of any ad is to be memorable. In order to get people to take action, they first have to remember your message amid the onslaught of media they consume on a daily basis. This ad certainly does that. Trust me, a moldy Whopper is not an image you'll soon forget.
Which leads to the second...
Know Where the Line Is
Burger King is no stranger to edgy advertising. Most recently, it aired an ad that included the 'd' word, leading to protest from some conservative groups. That doesn't mean edgy is automatically bad, but it's important to understand where the line is for your brand. While that's different for every company, consider that sometimes a sharp edge may leave some of your customers feeling cut.
These two things live in tension. As advertisers, the pursuit of being memorable often means stepping up to--or over--the line. That's inevitable as brands try to be more and more memorable. The thing about this ad campaign is that as much as you probably don't want to look at a moldy Whopper, it's hard to look away. It's hard not to get the message.
It certainly makes its point. Hopefully, for Burger King's sake, not too well.