Advertising: The Burger King
Want some fries with that, little boy?
"The 1970s Burger King was rather down-to-earth and somewhat amusing. Today's king looks more like a perverted and creepy moving sculpture who engages in porno."
Burger King, the fast food establishment, isn't all that trope-worthy on their own. They're the third-largest hamburger chain in the United States, they have a global presence, and they're subject to several stock parodies
, along with their major competitors.
That said, they've also created an advertising icon — "The" Burger King. And he's a whole other story entirely....
The Burger King started off humbly enough. He was Burger King's answer to Ronald McDonald in the Seventies, and he appeared in both live-action
forms. He came off as a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander
, but was otherwise benign. However, he was quite forgettable and faded into obscurity during the Eighties.
Fast forward a few decades to 2004, and Burger King decided to bring their mascot out of mothballs. This time, though, he became... much more disturbing
Now a guy in an obviously plastic mask right out of kigurumi
and royal finery, he started appearing in ads aimed at adults. By appearing where you probably weren't expecting him. Like at a construction site
. Or pole dancing
. Or, most famously, in your bedroom
. Simultaneously disturbing and amusing, the ads took off.
How much so? The Burger King managed to work his way into three
different video games (granted, made specifically as an in-store promotion, but still). He's also managed to become a pop culture icon, of sorts—you can buy the mask. He's had the occasional YouTube Poop
appearance, too. There's also his... interesting...
new video about Sponge Bob Square Pants
. Disturbing, hilarious, or some combination thereof, he's certainly memorable.
As of 2011, Burger King decided to retire the mascot
in favor of something a little more mass-market-friendly.
Not to be confused with the King of Rock 'n' Roll
, the King of Pop
, the King of All Media
, the King of Dots
, the King of Town
, the King of Hyrule (MAH BOI)
, the King of Dinosaurs
or the (oft-disputed) King of WWE
; though they all enjoy their DINNER.
The Burger King gives examples of:
- Advertising Campaigns: People do tend to remember these ads. No matter how hard they try otherwise.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One of the numerous "Cloverfield Monster Revealed!" videos features him.
- Anything That Moves: Men, women, sponges... Is there anything he hasn't made overtures towards?
- Characterization Marches On: Compare the early versions of him to the current one.
- Double Entendre: Meat... on top of meat... on top of meat!
- E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: As part of a Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen tie in, with a Cybertronian King who gave the secret to delicious hamburgers to Burger King founders Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns in 1953 in exchange for a place to live. Naturally, he transforms into a broiler.
- Gender Equals Breed: In one commercial, he is shown with a human wife and daughter, and a son who has a mask for a face.
- I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin: One of the UK adverts has a man craving burgers, after being offered one by the King, making the King look like a drug dealer on top of everything else that is wrong with the mascot.
- Mars Needs Women: The Star Trek tie-in: "My Star Trek collector cups! Why don't you just take my girlfriend, too? ...Great."
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Various movie tie-ins have given us Kingons, a Deceptiking (or maybe an Autoking, we can't tell), and an Iron King.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: An ad where The Burger King steals the blueprint of the Egg McMuffin from McDonald's HQ has him wearing a hoodie and a literal paper mask (that looks identical to his regular face).
- The Power of Cheese And Egg And Meat And Cheese And Meat And Cheese!
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Kingons!◊
- Shout-Out: In the very funny spoof of the Twilight trailer, Bella says that she's only afraid of two things: losing Edward, and "that Burger King guy — he really freaks me out."
- Slogans: Wake up with The King!
- Stepford Smiler
- Uncanny Valley: The older incarnations avoid this, but the latest version seems to be invoking this intentionally.
- Zoofights: The king has not actually appeared, but one of the contestants, the revamped Burgertherium, at one point was fitted with his mask to hide what had been done to his face. It came off during the fight; the readers never saw it, but the spectators did. Quoth one: "That face is... ugh... if my remaining biological systems had the ability to vomit, I would be doing so right now."