Burger King has made a habit of disrupting advertising conventions — and sometimes consumers’ relationships with technology and each other.
One of BK’s award-winning campaigns with the David agency since 2014, last June’s “Google Home of the Whopper,” famously triggered Google Home devices across America by instructing them to describe the Whopper, using its Wikipedia entry.
And back in 2009, BK and Crispin Porter+Bogusky messed with Facebook users — and ticked off Facebook itself — with the “Whopper Sacrifice” campaign, offering a free Whopper to those willing to delete 10 friends.
Now, BK and David are jumping into the technological maelstrom in a different, but equally unusual, way — at least for a fast-food brand.
Today, BK released a three-minute video (below) from David Miami that uses a BK-themed analogous scenario to drive home how the repeal of the net neutrality rules, under the current leadership of the Federal Communications Commission, could potentially affect the lives of net users by allowing internet providers to (as summarized by BK’s source, the ACLU) throttle bandwidth, offer paid fast lanes, and block and prioritize content, if they so choose.
BK exposed some real, unsuspecting customers at one of its locations to a staged scenario in which they were told that they would have to pay different prices for a Whopper based on how quickly the burger was given to them (the “MBPS,” or “Making Burgers Per Second” speed).
A “slow MBPS Whopper” cost $4.99, a “fast” one cost $12.99, and a “hyperfast” one cost a whopping $25.99.
The customers subjected to the “Whopper Neutrality” experiment expressed confusion, frustration, and in some cases, considerable anger — but also said the experience helped them better understand the somewhat complex net neutrality issue.
The video ends with the screen message: “The internet should be like the Whopper: the same for everyone,” followed by the URL for a “Save the Net” petition on Change.org.
Why is BK opting to take an active stance on this issue?
“The repeal of net neutrality is a hot topic in America, but it can be difficult to understand,” the brand stated. “We believe the internet should be like Burger King restaurants, a place that doesn’t prioritize and welcomes everyone,” added Fernando Machado, BK’s global chief marketing officer. “That’s why we created this experiment, to call attention to the potential effects of net neutrality.”
The video will be shared on other BK social platforms starting today, but not cut down for use as a TV spot, according to a brand rep. BK posts will encourage guests and social fans to sign the Change.org petition to save net neutrality.
Asked if the brand has any concerns about potentially alienating some among its mass audience, a rep for BK responded: "The majority of the U.S. population is in favor of net neutrality. We don't have anything else to add."