Burger King: Ditch the King to be a brand king

Burger King needs an intervention. It’s in a codependent, abusive relationship with “the King.” The King is:

  • Creepy in a child molester type of way.
  • Violent and offensive to many.
  • Old and tired and stuck in sophomoric humor mode.

The problem is Burger King and its agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, seem to love these traits. I guess they’re targeting teens and men in their 20s, because I can’t imagine anyone else liking these ads.

Remember those creepy “Wake up with the King” commercials? You know, the ones with the King standing in the bedroom while someone slept? Does this make you want to go to Burger King?

Burger King’s new commercial brings their King advertising to a new low. I know it’s probably considered hilarious by many. But I find it downright violent and disturbing.

The first frame is a woman in her office talking on the phone. Then, a chair comes crashing through her glass office wall. The chair is thrown by the King.

Don’t we have enough violence in our lives? Do we really need it in a Burger King commercial? Watch for yourself. What do you think?

Many people are offended by this ad. I can see why, but I’m not offended. I just don’t like it. Considering this particular King has been around for about 6 years, it’s time for a new approach.

I’m sure Burger King and Crispin think they’re being creative and edgy. But come on, keeping a character around for that long is not creative. And offending people and creating controversy on a regular basis isn’t either.

Yes, I concede that the King helped boost Burger King’s brand. But, hey, people liked the Geico cavemen at first too.

Why not come up with a new King-less campaign? Show you can reach for a wider audience—with a more relevant brand message. Try and drive people of all ages into the restaurants.

Or, stick with the King and continue to amuse adolescents everywhere, and fall so in love with that attention that you let the King star in his own sitcom. Yeah, that’ll work.


P.S. After I finished writing this, I saw Burger King’s most recent commercial. And even though I still hate the King, I have to give props. I love “Sneaky King” for one reason—it’s honest, which also makes it bold, in a good way. And I love McDonald’s for not being one of those a–hole competitors who sues whenever a competitor “copies” them.


Until next time, here’s a blog I found while writing this, Gods of Advertising, and a site I’m on all the time, Fast Company. Enjoy!


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