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Burger King’s Unhappy Meals; A Sad Reflection Of Our Times?

Big brands, especially our favourite places to eat are always trying to find our weak spots in order to, you guessed it, make money. No matter how much they try to show you they care about you and your emotions, we know what their endgame is all about.

With the intense competition, especially between big global brands, Burger King’s latest ploy at getting in “with the cool” crowd is no different. Their new advertising idea is aptly summed up with their hashtag, #FeelYourWay. This idea is a neat way to pay tribute to the company’s original slogan, “Have it your way”, however, this one deals with much more than the consumer’s choice.

Source; Today Show

With a serious jab at McDonald’s iconic Happy Meals, Burger King has introduced a whole new range of “Real Meals” that want to tell you that it’s okay to not be happy all the time. This is a pretty clever marketing strategy especially since it’s being done in collaboration with Mental Health America in honour of Mental Health Awareness Month. 

The range includes a Blue Meal, a Yaaas Meal, a Salty Meal, a Pissed Meal and even a DGAF meal which will be available in some selected cities in America for this month. Their advertisement explains what the motive behind the message is as it follows the story of average Americans dealing with different emotions and situations. It starts off with a man reading out his slam poetry that reads, “Not everybody wakes up happy. Sometimes you feel sad, scared, crappy. All I ask is that you let me feel my way.”

His message is then taken forward by others like him; a woman who is creeped out by her sleezy boss, a teenage girl dealing with bullies, a young man who’s just been ghosted by a girl he thought was different and even a really young mom who has had it with people judging her for her choices. The words and visuals they present are undoubtedly powerful. We can all relate to the man who feels like he’ll never move out of his parents house and we can relate to the woman who flips her boss as she leaves. And Burger King understands this.

There’s a reason why the characters and stories chosen for this ad are young people or milennials. One answer could quite obviously be because they’re the most obvious target audience. The hip and new generation who connects with these kind of rebellious emotions.

On the other hand, the other reasons could be because this is the generation that is the most depressed, the most disillusioned and the most likely to be well, unhappy.

I mean it’s great that someone understands this epidemic and this depressing reality that a lot of young people live in, but is this a real effort to help those individuals? Will eating a Yaaas Meal really solve the young mother’s problems just because she confidently says, “They say I’m too young to raise my baby girl . Take your opinion and suck it world.” 

The real message gets lost in translation somewhere between a half-assed attempt at empowering the youth to #Feel their way and a brand trying to sell their product. Depression and anxiety aren’t healthy human traits, so why are they being normalized? Shouldn’t the message be to normalize seeking proper help for these issues?

To be fair, maybe that might not entirely be the company’s job but shouldn’t it be?

The idea is to end the stigma attached with mental health issues while simultaneously releasing “a new line of meal boxes that honor a full range of human emotions.” In what world do these five emotions encompass all the complexities of our emotional capacity? If you can even call Yaaas a real emotion? The brand might just be trying too hard. I mean i can literally imagine the marketing team sit down for a brainstorm session and wonder why millennials and Gen Z just aren’t eating Burger King like they used to. Well, depression and anxiety are the top Google searches right now. Let’s reel them in with that!

And as expected, the Twitterverse isn’t cool with that;

Asking the real questions;

The internet is definitely an unforgiving place. Ouch!

We stan this spot on message!

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