On the heels of the New Hampshire primary, Miss Pop Rocks thought she would bask in the glory that is American democracy by taking a moment to reflect on Americans and American priorities. More specifically, she wants to take a moment to talk about Whoppers. Because apparently genocide in Africa and a looming recession can’t stop us from focusing on our number one concern.
What I’m trying to say is this: Hell hath no fury like a middle American fatty without his all-beef patty.
First, some disclaimers. I’m a vegetarian, and I’ve never eaten a Whopper in my life. Before you go all crazy, claiming this PETA-freak don’t have no right talking about BK, let it be said that I actually wrote a letter of thanks to Burger King a few years back complimenting them for the introduction of the delicious BK Veggie Burger. (They never wrote back, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Now, onto the meat of the story…heh heh heh. Has anyone else been slightly charmed, bemused, and disturbed by BK’s new “Whopper Freakout” ad campaign airing on television recently? Directed by Henry-Alex Rubin (whose work has been honored at Sundance, I kid you not), the ads are actually snippets of a short movie filmed at a Las Vegas Burger King. Customers were told the Whopper had been permanently discontinued, and a slew of hidden cameras captured the reaction. (To see the entire film, go here.)
The reason Miss Pop Rocks is charmed and bemused by this little promotional campaign is that there is something oddly heartwarming about watching frustrated, angry customers react to the no Whopper news. Some wax nostalgic about their childhood, reminiscing to the cashier about the days when they would drive to another state just to buy the Whopper. One man recalls getting old enough to eat an entire Whopper. (“When I got to be big enough to eat a Whopper, I was a man.”)
A member of the emo set has his stylized depression taken to yet another level when he is told there will be no Whopper that day, or ever. Shaking his hair out of his face, he describes his emotional state as “livid” and tells the manager, “I’m a little heated right now.”
Perhaps most charming is the pair of aging stoners, one of whom declares, “They might as well change their name to Burger Queen.” (His buddy pauses to contemplate that and then drawls out, “Yeaaaaaaah.”)
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So all of those images, set to doom and gloom music accompanied with a serious-sounding voice over narration, make the film charming,
But what’s disturbing about the ad campaign? Well for starters, the great majority of the “freaked out” people are significantly overweight…and Miss Pop Rocks is willing to bet 75 percent of them can’t find America on a map. It slays me that what gets our ire up as citizens of this great land is the departure of a beef patty. They can take away our votes in Florida and allow for seizing of land by private owners through eminent domain. And they can ignore thousands of citizens after a natural disaster and start wars they shouldn’t. Yes, they can do a lot of things.
But by God, they will not take our Whopper.
I have to admit it all seems like a ridiculous overreaction on the part of BK customers. But what the Hell do I know? After all, I’m a fucking vegetarian. – Jennifer Mathieu