Burger King

I could go the obvious route and use my entry on Burger King to ridicule obesity. "Did you know a double Whopper has 1000 calories?" I could ask. "No wonder America is so fat!" I could also use a personal anecdote to question programs and policies that promote hiring the mentally retarded; one such man working as a BK cashier voided a $25 gift card of mine and refused to acknowledge even the possibility that he may have done so. Instead, though, I will use my Burger King paragraphs to talk about advertising.

Man, Burger King has some amazing advertisements, specifically in the all-important category of television. Over the past ten years, we've seen Shaq put some little kid on a poster while dressed like Shaft. We've seen an enormous chicken tackling extreme sports. We've seen Whopper Jr. throwing a ripper, only to have his dad come home and go apeshit at Junior's friend, Spicy Chicken sandwich, for hitting on his daughter (somehow, a human). We've seen a group of men throw a minivan off of an overpass into an awaiting dump truck being hauled by some sort of brute who is lured into movement by a burger held just out of his reach on a shovel by an attractive woman. We have even seen Darius "Hootie" Rucker lazily strum "Big Rock Candy Mountain" while describing in great detail the "Fantasy Ranch," a place where cheddar paves the streets, Dallas cheerleaders give you shaves, french fries grow like weeds, and streams of bacon ranch dressing flow right up to your knees. And we've seen all of this thanks to Burger King.

But they don't only excel on the TV-front. In fact, as our society heads boldly and rapidly into a commercial-free TV age, I think BK will prosper. Burger King has released three video games for the Xbox 360. They have released a cologne called BK Flame. They have created a 75-page pdf about the "Angus Diet" written by the fictional nutrition expert "Dr. Angus." They've done just fine on the viral front too, giving us both the Day Without a Whopper and the Subservient Chicken.

Never underestimate the power of commercials. Before the new millennium began, I was a Mickey D's guy, through and through. Now, when I think of grabbing some fast food, it's BK that comes to mind. What happened? When it comes to the quality of food, McDonald's got no worse, and Burger King barely improved. Their prices have stayed comparably consistent. What it all comes down to is one brand beating the snot out of the other in the marketing realm. When I first saw Hootie regaling me with promises of tumbleweeds of bacon, I immediately wanted a Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch. It was that easy. I tried it, I loved it, and, lo and behold, McDonald's has never earned me back with any chicken commercials of their own. Olympic medalists preferring McDonald's chicken to their medals? It just doesn't compare to the Big Buckin' Chicken, or even his cousin, Big Huckin'. For ten years, I have always been able to count on Burger King to entertain and amuse me with each and every television snippet. From McDonald's, I've come to expect nothing more than misguided attempts at portraying urban culture.

So I'd like to thank Burger King for really "getting it" when it comes to advertisements over the past ten years. But I'd also like to warn them. After ten years of futility, McDonald's appears to finally be coming around. Their recent "Give me back that Filet-O-Fish!" ad was an instant classic, and certainly the best thing to come from either corporation in years. In fact, it was so great, that like the Hootie ad of years gone by, it made me actually order something I'd not otherwise get - in this case, a fast food fish sandwich. It didn't floor me, but imagine if it had! At the very least, now I'll never settle for the BK Big Fish should I get a hankerin' for some cod with a McDonald's nearby. At least, not until Burger King floors us all with another great commercial. Advertising: one of the beautiful by-products of capitalism. God bless America, all 50 billion pounds of it.

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