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Burger King’s ‘Whopper Virgins’ Ad Is Great

Burger King has finally kicked off it’s slighted twisted take on the classic taste test this weekend. If you haven’t yet seen the set of 15-second teaser ads leading up to the launch, the campaign is a taste test with participants who’ve basically never heard of a hamburger. It features various isolated peoples from around the world, hence “Whopper Virgins”, to participate in the “world’s purest taste test”. They asked Thai Hmong tribesmen, Transylvanian farmers, and some Inuit from Greenland to choose either the Whopper or the McDonald’s Big Mac.

This is the latest bit of marketing from BK’s agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky. CP+B is also responsible for previous ads like the motivational spoof Dr. Angus, the Whopper Freakout day where customers were told Burger King no longer sold Whoppers, and all the ads featuring the exceedingly bizarre King. This ad seems like the most ambitious to date though. “We wanted to see how the Whopper would perform in a world that didn’t have ad or marketing awareness or any sentimental attachments” says Russ Klein, president of BK’s global marketing. Of course, even before the main ads came out, tons of people were offended, as people often are. Read on:

Among the offended are the legions of comfortable, first-world, self-hating American bloggers who will find any reason at all to be angry at a multi-national corporation. In this case, they consider the Whopper the forbidden fruit that’ll suddenly give the tribesmen knowledge of evil Western ways, force them to abandon their culture, and get them kicked out of their Garden of Eden. Once they taste those delicious trans-fats, they’ll instantly give up their 20 hour work days and seal meat breakfast and move to Hollywood.

It’s such ridiculous and transparent anger. We should feel lucky though, that we have the free time to get offended when a group of people thousands of miles away gets fed hamburgers. The number of things a society gets offended by is directly proportional to it’s level of wealth.

Despite all the outrage, these are very clever ads. The whole campaign is well done… the teaser ads give that anticipation and build up to the main ads like they’re going to be some sort of event. Plus, the idea of the taste test generally does well in advertising, and this is a nice, sideways take on it. The implication is that MacDonalds is on top because of their name recognition, yet Burger King has the inherently quality food. They wanted to convey that idea while at the same time making hip, aesthetically pleasing ads. The message comes across that, once you get past all the names and BS, the Whopper is the better burger. The truth, of course, is that that’s just advertising too, and both companies just make garbage food for fatties. Still, well played BK; well played CP+B

Check out the set of 15-second teasers and get pissed:

Transylvanian Farmers

Thai Hmong tribesmen

And the campaign’s website: