Burger King Pride Whopper PR Crisis

In the Pride month, there has been a flurry of rainbow-tinted commercials.

Some advertisements have been criticized for using sexualized imagery to attract the attention of LGBTQ consumers during the Pride month.

Opinions are divided on whether the advertisements are irreverent tools that appear to be discriminatory against queer sex or whether they symbolize progress.

This also brings up the issue of whether a company only shows support during the Pride month or sincerely tries to support and engage a marginalized community.

The Campaign

Burger King in Austria announced the Pride Whopper burger. The ‘E’ was a rainbow flag and the classic sandwich featured a twist.

It showed two ‘equal’ buns which were supposed to symbolize equal love and equal rights.

The burger could be ordered with two similar bun halves. There could be two of flat bottom buns or two of seeded top buns.

What was meant to be attributed ended up being a design fail.

A lot of people were of the opinion that the campaign was meant to convey the meaning that one could order a burger that had two bottoms or two tops.

Mixed Reactions

The campaign received a mixed response. The ‘inclusive’ burger which was meant to be funny led to mixed reactions.

According to some, this was a case of rainbow washing and merely an attempt to portray oneself as inclusive just to increase the number of customers while doing nothing to celebrate and support different identities.

Some have even raised the question of whether the money raised from this campaign will be donated to LGBTQ+ charities. Some found it hilarious and made their feelings evident on Twitter.

Some insinuated that actual queer people were not involved in developing the product. The burger demonstrated a misunderstanding of how gay sex worked.

There were tweets on whether any queer creatives were given the assignment in the first place.

It is impossible to speak for everyone, and quite obviously, some were baffled and some offended.

The Apology

The Germany based agency Jung von Matt, responsible for the campaign, issued an apology on LinkedIn.

They stated that it was their responsibility that the message of the campaign went down as a mixed one.

They also went on to apologize to members of the LGBTQ community and stated that they would continue to work to promote equal love and equal rights.

For successful Pride campaigning, it has become important to consult with LGBTQ creatives and experts. Companies should also support rainbow campaigns that do charity work.

Austria’s ‘Burger KIng’ is the official sponsor of Vienna Pride 2022.

This campaign can serve to be a cautionary tale about how brands should craft messages that seek to represent the marginalized.

In a similar manner, Postmates has also been criticized for introducing a Bottom-friendly menu as it was considered to be an insinuation for taking the bottom position during gay sex.