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Quick Hits: Burger King's Third-World Taste Test


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.


Who would have thought Burger King (BKC) could debut an ad that would actually make us long for the frozen-faced dementia of the King?

This week, the Home of the Whopper released a TV commercial teasing an upcoming international taste test to be shown on its website. But unlike the usual "which of these burgers tastes better?" format, Burger King mixes it up by targeting the indigenous people -- or as it calls them, "Whopper Virgins" -- of desolate areas in Thailand, Romania and Greenland.

One ad asks the question, "What happens if you take Transylvanian farmers, who have never eaten a burger, and ask them to compare Whopper versus Big Mac in the world's purest taste test?"

Well, let's see: Given their comparatively weak digestive systems, what happens probably won't be pretty.

The spot continues, "If you want a real opinion about a burger, ask someone who doesn't even have a word for 'burger.'"


Creating this real-life The Gods Must Be Crazy scenario has drawn the ire of many, and caused the company to be bombarded with complaints. While no one's objecting to Burger King feeding the poverty-stricken villagers, critics have lambasted the company for exploiting the act for corporate gain.

Marilyn Borchardt, development director for Food First, noted that the campaign doesn't even go so far as to acknowledge that the taste testers have been living in areas where meals are a luxury.

Duncan Riley at The sums the whole thing up thusly: "It's hard to place exactly where this begins on the level of wrongness."

Regardless of who wins the taste test, McDonald's (MCD) is happy to sit out this particular PR debacle.

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