In the biggest win for the institution of monarchy since the restoration of the Spanish royals in the late 1970s, Burger King has backed down in the face of protests from King Philippe of Belgium regarding an ad campaign featuring the IRL monarch in competition with the fast-food sovereign.
AdWeek points to the sorry conclusion to this stunt:
Today, Burger King Belgium completed its PR stunt by pretending it had lost to the legitimate monarch in a narrow, completely fictional vote, 51 to 49 percent. It then announced plans to abdicate its own throne and the title of king in a final, irreverent gesture toward the royal family. (See the new “updated” logo above.)
“The results are in: 51 percent for King Philippe and 49 percent for Burger King,” read a press release that cited “worldwide media coverage” in summarizing the three-day campaign. “The brand always respected the people’s choice and must face the harsh truth. As a consequence, Burger King gives up its title and withdraws it from its logo—as heralded on its official Facebook page.”
“Anyway, this game wasn’t that funny. We abdicate,” the page added.
Reuters says that, “A spokeswoman for Burger Brands Belgium said the company had decided to pull the campaign after a conversation with the palace.”
In this age of social media, the maxim that all publicity is good publicity is, unfortunately, truer than ever. This is the rare exception, as Burger King basically just admitted to getting told by one of Europe’s comparatively minor monarchies.