Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not believin' the Whopper Freakout


It's kind of obvious why Crispin, Porter + Bogusky shot the Whopper Freakout in some place with palm trees. Because if the agency shot it in a place that was a little bit harsher on the soul—like, say, New York—the people who were denied their Whoppers would have pulled out a weapon and maimed the "store manager" who tells the assembled multitudes that Burger King has discontinued its most popular offering. (If you're not familiar, you can watch a little bit of Whopper Freakout here. Basically, it's a "mockumentary" in which a local Burger King tells all of its patrons that the Whopper is kaput. Something, but to my mind not hilarity, ensues.) Over at Fallon Planning, they're calling it "genius" but to me, despite all of the claims that this was all shot using real people, who really thought the Whopper was gone, doesn't pass the scent of flame-grilled beef test. First, to quote David Ogilvy, "The consumer is not a moron. She's your wife." The inherent sexism of that quote aside, D.O. had a point: that people are not that gullible, particularly these days. Are there that many people who would really believe this? It's akin to, well, McDonald's KOing the Big Mac. Yeah, right. Second, if people really were that gullible, how come they take it relatively passively? They only really seem to get, um, inflamed, when, in the latter part of the video—which involves store workers actually stuffing burgers from Wendy's and McDonald's surreptitiously into customers' bags—store staff basically accuses the customers of putting the errant burgers in their bags. My last complaint is that, at almost 8 minutes, it's too long. Just because you can stream almost anything of any length these days, doesn't mean you should. OK, you can now accuse me of getting up on the wrong side of the burger this morning.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

why is it so hard to believe? you know what would be harder to believe, that CPB would set out to fake this.


if you tell hungry americans that their favorite burger has been discontinued, i'm pretty sure their first reaction is not going to be "Waaait a minute! this has to be some kind of hidden camera reality-based branded content effort..."

Anonymous said...

looks like they shot it in vegas

http://creativity-online.com/?action=news:article&newsId=122717§ionName=behind_the_work

Catharine P. Taylor said...

So in other words, what happens there, stays there, unless it's a viral campaign with 100,000 views on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

no, i'm saying i don't know too many places harsher on the soul than vegas....

what are you saying? people will kill for their burgers? they didn't....sort of:

"Were you worried about pissing off customers? Did anyone freak out a little too much?

HAR: Oh yeah. There was a guy who almost ran over a PA. When we tried to give him the other burger (in the series that features BK employees serving other chains' well known sandwiches in place of a requested Whopper) he threw the burger at my actor's head and went out and jumped into his 4x4. PAs were falling over themselves trying to get to him to tell him but he started speeding out of the parking lot and a PA had to literally dive out of the way. There was a handful who obviously had other stuff going on and we couldn't use them."

kypar said...

I think whether or not the commercial is using real people (isn't reality TV scripted anyways), the main point would be "where's the relevancy?" I just don't see a lot of Burger King customer, especially passionate ones, jumping all over YouTube. My assumption is most don't even know the medium well enough. So you now they have a lot of awareness but where's the Beef?

Anonymous said...

"where's the relevancy?" are you not paying attention? BK is one of the few brands who've pretty consistently assumed their customers are out there on the Internet. Cmon.

At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader, this is successful. it's got the ethos (people love to laugh at the misery of others) and it's got the system (a simple-as-hell streaming web interface). the majority of people aren't even watching it on youtube, they're embedding the video direct from the site.

Anonymous said...

previous anon. thank you for saying that. you'd think it would have to be pointed out on an ad blog, but apparently it does. another case of CPB-envy perhaps?

Anonymous said...

No, no cpb envy here....great agency, but their years in the sun are over. recent tv work's been half-ass, lacked character. maybe they've lost the plot? but this BK thing is pretty good.

Anonymous said...

It’s somewhat reminiscent of CP+B’s early Truth campaign, which actually presented “real” people who were scripted actors. CP+B apparently had difficulty finding real teens who could function properly on camera. Wonder what the legal implications would be for secretly videotaping real people in a public restaurant. Whatever the case, the BK idea is a decent one.

Anonymous said...

From the Creativity interview with Rubin:

Was everyone really real?

HAR: Crispin wanted to do it with all real people. Going in, I said that that's dangerous; (let's) get some plants... (In the end) we had a philosophical discussion and said we really got the best reactions from real people so we cut out everyone who was fake...

t said...

i find it all very boring. so people get a little annoyed that their favorite burger is not available, so what? very unimaginative in my opinion. and the guy who is the manager is an actor, i wonder if anyone coming into the store recognized him. i know i did within about 2 seconds.

Anonymous said...

I work with John Q. Public. Never underestimate John Q. Public's stupidity or his/her loyalty to something really dumb.

Honestly, I don't care if it's real or not. I wish it would focus on how stupid the general consumer is and their absurd loyalty, not to mention their opposition to change.

Stephanie said...

The so called manager looks like an actor from other commercials... as does the kid in the glasses. i don't buy it at all.