Imperialism Becomes a Born-Again Virgin, But Will Turn Tricks for Meat

Burger King's Mascot - fittingly the King himself.

Burger King, which has a  small cult following among advertising gurus, for its quirky, odd, and (to some) increasingly bizarre commercials released a series of “Whopper Virgin” commercials in the U.S this December. In addition to the documentary-style commercials, Burger King has released a behind the scenes making of the “Whopper Virgin” documentary.

The basic premise of the commercials, is that the only way to have a “true” taste test, is to have so-called “whopper virgins,” try the whopper (Burger King) and the Big Mac (McDonald’s). What’s a “whopper virgin” you ask? According to  Burger King, it’s any one who’s never had Americanized food – specifically a person who’s never had a burger. Or as I like to think about it, people who have not been exposed to artery clogging, likely to kill you, over-processed and chemicalized food, which here in the U.S. we call hamburger meat.

The Burger King film crew runs the “test,” in a Thai Hmong village, a small village in Transylvania, and an Inuit village – encouraging all of the participants to try the whopper, while they record the responses, which vary from confusion about how to eat the whopper, to general disgust about what it is, to enjoyment and curiosity. And it’s all done with an eye for anthropological exploitation.

When I first saw these I was fascinated, trying to figure out what was going on – were Americans being challenged about our assumptions about food? Was there a larger commentary on how we think of food? Was Burger King going to support these small villages? No. Burger King wants to show you that somehow, although many of those featured, eat far healthier food than many of us do in the U.S. , somehow the ultimate symbol of American food, the “burger,” – and how we eat it, is superior to how other people eat around the world.

I guess imperialism is real hungry these days, and busy learning how to turn new tricks. It is so self-explanatory as to why this is whack, that I will stop with the commentary right here. Here are the “Whopper Virgins” commercial released in the U.S.

The Gaurdian ran an article about the ads, “Burger King’s ‘Whopper Virgins’ ads: just bad taste?”

Thai Hmong Village

Transylvania Village

This is “The Making of Whopper Virgins”


One Response to “Imperialism Becomes a Born-Again Virgin, But Will Turn Tricks for Meat”

  1. […] is different than my own – I wrote about the Burger King ads in a post entitled “Imperialism Becomes a Born Again Virgin, But Will Turn Tricks for Meat.” DiversityInc gave both Burger King and now McDonald’s an opportunity to offer a fairly weak […]

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