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Burger King’s Whopper virgins
The backlash against a fast-food chain’s ad campaign

“What could Burger King's PR people be thinking?” asked Marion Nestle in The Daily Green. The fast-food chain “spent a fortune to go to the ends of the earth and ask people who supposedly had never eaten a hamburger”—Whopper virgins, Burger King calls them—what kind of burger is best. (click here for the Burger King video) It’s hard to say “what’s worse”—the junk science, or the “offensiveness” of the whole concept.

But, as an advertising strategy, this could be a stroke of genius, said the advertising blog The Future of Ads. “If you believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity, then the sheer number of times that Whopper Virgins has already been mentioned in the press” is reason enough to call this campaign a success.

For Burger King, maybe, said Derrick Jackson in The Boston Globe. But what about the unsuspecting “guinea pig villagers” who, wearing local garb, are asked to eat this slop? This is just the most overt example yet of how America’s fast-food giants are trying to “colonize the farthest reaches of the world” with an unhealthy Western diet bulging with fat, sugar, and salt.

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