Friday, April 17, 2009

Burger King Faces Ethical Dilemma

Burger King is facing an ethical dilemma as they suffer under a firestorm brought on by millions of Mexicans across the globe. The web played a major role in helping to bring to light an ad campaign running in the UK and Spain. The ad and accompanying print work (see above) are for the new Texican Whopper - a fushion of Texas angus beef and Mexican spices, get it?

The advertisements depict Mexicans in a negative light - referring to the barely 5 foot tall, luchador mask wearing Mexican character as "El Cachito" (the little morsel). While the TV spot doesn't include the Mexican flag's eagle, the accompanying print work does. This is concerning as Mexican law strictly forbids its desicration in any way.

Burger King and their agency, Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, are now in an ethical quandary (and business one). Do they continue to push ahead driven by creative freedom or do they respect the desire of millions of Mexicans to have this poor interpretation stricken from the public's view?

Spurred on by the Mexican Ambassador to Spain, Jorge ZermeƱo, it seems that Burger King is bowing to pressure and is planning to pull the work. It may not be because they see the light, but rather, understand the importance of Mexicans to their business. The US Hispanic market is a lucrative one and Mexico is arguably their second largest after the US. Ethical or not, Burger King understands that not reacting quickly in today's web based world, can really hurt the bottom line.


  1. I know this comment has less to do with the multicultural focus of your blog...but in addition to the above Burger King commercial, they are being slammed for their SpongeBob Squarepants meets Sir Mix-a-Lot commercial, where they take fun, lovable and CHILD appropriate SpongeBob and blend him in with women shaking know. What are they thinking?!

  2. Totally agree! Talk about inappropriate!

  3. I see the point of view that since Burger King is a US based business; it may come across as offensive to show something from the Mexican culture in our media. But is it worth arguing about? Considering how out of hand immigration has become, you’d think it wouldn’t matter if we did harmless advertising based on a restaurant. It’s different when commercials or advertisements are intending to be offensive, and when they’re only advertising. I don’t see the harm in the commercial.