#143 Burger King gone too far in a far-away market

The 2018 Soccer World Cup will still be going on for a few weeks, and yet there’s already a big loser – Burger King. The global fast food giant just had to withdraw a recent campaign on the Russian VK social media network. In the campaign, Burger King had offered a cash prize of 3 million Russian Rubles (approximately US$ 47,000) along with a life-time supply of its signature Whopper sandwich. Quite normal, right? Almost unimaginative. Well, the problem was that it wasn’t just a lucky draw. There was a little condition attached to the prize – it was for women who managed to get impregnated by Russian soccer players so that Russia could “make sure that the best soccer genes will proliferate and guarantee the success of Russian soccer for generations to come…!” After pressure from women’s advocate groups and social media users, the promotional post was quickly removed from the Burger King VK account, and the company issued an apology instead: “We offer apologies for the announcement we made. It was too offensive. We are taking steps to ensure this type of activity does not happen again.” Hard to unring the bell, especially for a company that had come under fire for its offensive ads before: In early 2017, it came out with an advertisement for a buy one, get one free offer featuring the image of Diana Shurygina, a 17-year-old girl who had been raped and beaten in a case that drew widespread public attention. I wonder, who signs off on these campaigns at Burger King?

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