December 4, 2008, - 11:31 am

Dumbest PC Outrage of the Day: I’m a Lifelong “Whopper Virgin”

By Debbie Schlussel
Are you a “Whopper virgin”? Since I keep kosher, I am, and–it’s safe to say–I will die a Whopper virgin.
And while I’m not offended with this moniker, liberals are upset about Burger King’s new series of “Whopper Virgin” ads, featuring Thai Hmongs, Transylvanian farmers in Romania, Inuit tribes in Iceland, and other indigenous peoples in far-flung locales around the world.
In the humorous ads, which debut Sunday evening on TV and at, these various remote ethnicities were asked to taste test the Whopper versus the Big Mac. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that, since the ads are produced by BK, these native peoples didn’t pick the Big Mac.
But humorless liberals, who can’t take a joke and for whom everything is offensive, are incensed, claiming the ads–which they have yet to see–are “tasteless and potentially exploitative.”
Here are the preview ads. Judge for yourself. They look harmless to me:

Based on these preview videos, I think the ads look clever and are going to be funny and entertaining. These forever-annoyed liberals and PC-police will be howling at the wind.
But some Hmong activists claim that they are being looked at as backwards in the ads, as if they never had a burger. That’s ridiculous. They went to places where people, in fact, never had a burger, much less a Whopper or Big Mac. I wonder what the Hmong–there are many Hmong immigrants in Wisconsin and I worked to help the Hmong poor there, when I was in grad school–will say about “Gran Torino,” where some of them are portrayed in an even less flattering light (though others are portrayed positively).
And then there are the others–liberals who feel we must respect and bow down to the Third World, and other Hmong activists who actually liked the ads:

How do you market burgers after you’ve tried everything else? Taste tests in Transylvania.
Next week, Burger King kicks off a major ad campaign that involves a unique twist on the tried-and-true marketing technique of taste testing. The campaign is already generating controversy.
The No. 2 burger maker in the U.S. asked farmers in the Transylvania region of Romania, the Hmong tribe of Thailand, and other folks in far-flung places to sample its Whopper alongside McDonald’s Big Mac and declare the winner.
One ad, set to begin airing Monday, features images of villagers in traditional garb choosing the Whopper over the Big Mac. A Transylvanian woman, an Inuit tribesman from the Icelandic tundra and others point and, in their native tongues, declare their preference for Burger King’s flagship product.
“We traveled to find the most isolated people in the world…the world’s purest taste test,” a voiceover says.
Burger King says it was trying to find “Whopper Virgins,” which is also the name of its campaign. “We wanted to see how the Whopper would perform in a world that didn’t have ad or marketing awareness or any sentimental attachments” to either brand, says Russ Klein, president of global marketing, strategy and innovation at Burger King Holdings.
But it didn’t take long for the campaign to get flame-broiled by controversy. Teaser ads, which started running earlier this week to help build excitement for the campaign by showing snippets from the experiment, have been criticized by bloggers and pundits as tasteless and potentially exploitative.
A headline on the blog Stereohyped read: “Burger King Storms Innocent Villages to Plunder ‘Virgins.’ ”
Another blogger, on Walletpop, wrote: “What might irk people is the concept that Burger King is taking its fat-laden fast food to people who aren’t used to this stuff in their diets, who aren’t usually subject to our crass commercials, and who probably don’t really care too much.”
Alan Siegel, chairman of Siegel + Gale, an Omnicom Group branding firm, warns that the ads “could be interpreted as the crass part of America talking to the Third World.” . . .
Lo Neng Kiatoukaysy of the nonprofit Hmong American Friendship Association, in Milwaukee, said she and a small group of Hmong she works with viewed and liked the teaser ads.

To Alan Siegel and the others, I say, PUH-LEEEZE. “The crass part of America talking to the Third World”?! Go tell it to your ACLU support group. Sounds like Siegel’s a little jealous that Crispin Porter + Bogusky ad agency produced these ads that are destined to be a hit . . . and not his agency.

10 Responses

Sounds like the libs are taking BK serious when they are told to “Have It Your Way!”
Jimmy Lewis
SCS, Michigan

Jimmy on December 4, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Never say never, Debbie.
We have kosher Burger Kings in Israel. ;-}
Pizza Hut and KFC, too…
{Yeah, I know that was hardly the point of this post….Just sayin’…}

Ben-Yehudah on December 4, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Maybe they should stay “WhopperVirgins”. Judged by the eating habits of Americans, I would say don’t do it. Just look at immigrants and then look at their children. The children are usually way more heavier than their parents.
I think Hollywood and Ad Agencies export too much of this trash to our masses and to rest of the world. This isnt everyday Americans exporting this trash but liberal ad agencies who want others to emulate their selfish lifestyle. And people wonder why society has gone to hell in a hand basket. I can see why other nations wouldn’t want to take part in Hollwood or Madison Ave trash. DONT BITE THE APPLE.

californiascreaming on December 4, 2008 at 2:32 pm

“Go tell it to your ACLU support group.” Great quote Debbie — I’ve added it to my quote of the day. Cheers…

ob3 on December 4, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Miss Schlussel, Et Alii:
Gosh, gee whillikers, I didn’t know Jews couldn’t eat hamburgers.
About a zillion years ago, when I was wandering the country and not knowing where my next meal was coming from, I worked at a MacDonald’s in Aurora, Colorado (a suburb of Denver), and it was owned and operated by a Jew.
In fact, I think most of the employees, who were students at the University of Colorado in Boulder, were probably Jewish.
Why is a hamburger or a cheeseburger not kosher?
On the other side of the coin, when I first arrived in Israel, and was registered at the Park Hotel in Tel Aviv, I went downstairs to eat breakfast – – – my very FIRST meal in Israel.
At the cafeteria-style counter, I requested bacon and eggs.
The man behind the counter replied that they didn’t have any bacon.
So, I requested sausage and eggs or ham and eggs.
He reminded me that I was in Israel and that everything was kosher.
Boy, did I feel like a fool!
I knew Israel was kosher, but I’d forgotten all about it.
Mox nix.
I think the Jews were amused by my ignorance, as they were very tolerant of me, patiently guiding me along the way, for everywhere I went, I was the only Christian in our guided tour group.
Thank you.
John Robert Mallernee
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D. C. 20011-8400

writesong on December 4, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Sorry Debbie,
But I like this whopper freakout commercial that I found popped up after watching your embedded ones. It is kinda market specific and well just plain humorous for the rest of us.
At 59 secs in it is pure humor.

West Dearbornistan on December 4, 2008 at 3:59 pm

You’re not missing anything, Debbie. BK burgers are nasty!

dm60462 on December 4, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Who cares what Hmong “activists” think? (Is “activist” the same thing as “community organizer?”) Let ’em go back to Hmongolia if they don’t like it.
John Robert:
Hamburgers are kosher if they’re made with kosher meat. Whoppers and Bic Macs aren’t. Cheeseburgers are never kosher, since Jews are prohibited to eat a mixture of milk and meat.

kishke on December 4, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Some conservative bloggers took exception also, to my surprise. That is something of an anti-SUVesque pespective from where I sit. McDonald’s and Burger King hamburgers are terrific. They wouldn’t sell in the billions if they weren’t. The people have spoken.

iowavette on December 5, 2008 at 1:54 pm

pretty tasteless. i saw the ad on tv. it shows a plump fluffy whopper next to a BM that looked like it just got run over by a bus. but anyway i guess BK isnt satisfied that most of the free world or at least the world under their ‘grip’ are mostly a bunch of obese, cholesterol laden, junk food addicts. now they have to corrupt the natural balance some of these cultures have maintained for thousands of years. oh well, free will. btw, either burgers are pretty disgusting anyway.

rick on December 5, 2008 at 10:41 pm

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