Posted on Wed, December 10, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
9 Comments | Categories: Food Justice, Meat, News, Current Events,
by Slow Food USA staffer Jerusha Klemperer
I am not a Whopper virgin, but I like to think that I have, “Sex and the City” style, re-virginized myself by abstaining for the past 15 years, although the documentary team behind Burger King’s latest ad campaign might disagree. This technical glitch, along with my status as an American with a TV and the internet, and close access to many of their 11,000 restaurants around the world makes me ineligible for this latest project—Whopper Virgins.
The blogosphere is abuzz about these spots (and the longer “documentary” found online), which feature people in remote Greenland, remote Thailand, and remote Transylvania—people who have never (ohmygoshcanyoubelieveit!) tasted the subtle beauty and strange arrangement of an American fast food burger—being offered Big Macs and Whoppers and then asked to pick which one they prefer. Like any good ad campaign, these spots are in poor taste, pretty misleading, and—in my humble opinion—most likely staged. Call me a cynic, but I don’t believe most things I see on the teevee. Plus, when was the last time you looked to ad campaigns as paragons of cultural sensitivity and good taste?
Despite their potential lack of truth, and despite the fact that most of the burgers pictured in the ads and in the documentary look completely unappetizing, it’s not so easy to brush this campaign off; it has a way of getting under your skin. Maybe it’s the fetishizing of interviewee’s local dress; maybe it’s the way the camera lingers on participants’ confusion about how to pick up such a monstrously large food item, all “aren’t they adorably confused?”; maybe it’s the lack of a third option—a burger that actually looks good. Maybe it’s your sad feeling that there were maybe a few small pockets of this great big earth that had been, until now, still untouched by the culinary imperialism of fast food, and that this is the death knell.
Anyway, definitely look and see and judge for yourself. Some highlights include: