Business

Burger King's LGBT-Inspired Packaging Gets Mixed Reaction

During the 44th annual Pride Parade in San Francisco, Burger King unveiled a new menu item called the "Proud Whopper" and released a viral video.

Burger King's LGBT-Inspired Packaging Gets Mixed Reaction
Flickr / Matthew Roth
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​Burger King’s hyperlocal marketing during San Francisco Pride went viral after the company released a video showcasing its new menu option: the Proud Whopper.

EMPLOYEE: "Would you like a Proud Whopper?"

MAN: "Is it different?"

WOMAN: "We are all the same inside." (Via Burger King)

BK wanted to make a statement by changing nothing about its famous burger. The Proud Whopper is a regular Whopper, but it's wrapped in rainbow paper inscribed with the message, "We are all the same inside." The fast food chain sold the LGBT-friendly burger for a limited time at its 1200 Market Street location during the 44th annual San Francisco Pride Parade over the weekend. (Via Twitter / @BurgerKingFlickr / Matthew Roth)

The chain’s director of West Coast marketing said in a statement, "With one of our restaurants on the Pride Parade route, it was a natural fit to be involved and celebrate by giving something back to the community." (Via Burger King)

All proceeds from the Proud Whopper will benefit college-bound LGBT students. Not to mention the campaign itself fits in with the company's new tagline, "Be your way."

The marketing's viral status unearthed supporters who showed love and others who couldn't stomach the King's attempt to advertise in the LGBT community. (Via KABC)

ANCHOR: "As you might expect, it inspired mixed reaction."

"It's a smart thing to do. San Francisco is a very diverse community."

"Personally, I find this to be corporate pandering to a group of people that they never cared about before." (Via KREM)

Business Insider listed conservative-leaning commenters who took to Twitter to boycott the burger and BK, while others thought the ploy was a quick way to cash in on rainbow-clad paradegoers. That said, Burger King didn't shy away from the opposition. In fact, the opening 10 seconds of its viral video showcase its critics. (Via Twitter / @WILDMANBS / @dwfaust)

But Washington Post writer Steven Overly looked at the bigger picture of advertising to the LGBT community.  

"Some market research shows LGBT consumers respond best when companies represent them in national ads distributed through mainstream channels. Burger King's week-long stunt in a city known for its large LGBT population and progressive politics may not be viewed as particularly risky or groundbreaking." (Via The Washington Post)

And an article from Businessweek notes in a recent finding, the LGBT community holds around $743 billion worth of buying power. Adweek reminded readers the King wasn't the only brand to deliver gay-friendly advertising over the weekend. A range of companies from YouTube to Lucky Charms showed their support during Pride Month this June. (Via Flickr / torbakhopper)

The sale of the Proud Whopper began on June 28 and ends Thursday, July 3. Burger King has not said if it will offer the promotion in any other location around the U.S.