Burger King's ad for its Vietnamese-inspired burger shows customers trying to eat with a pair of giant novelty chopsticks, to which Asian-New Zealanders ask "why"?
It's a crime against food
Food crimes come in many forms: putting pineapple on pizza, pouring milk before cereal, and cutting bagels into slices like a loaf of bread . But most of all heinous of them all? Eating fast food with utensils. Is eating a burrito with a knife and fork OK? What about a pizza, like Donald Trump does? So why would you eat a burger with chopsticks? There's a special place in hell reserved for people like that.
Vietnamese 'burgers' kind of already exist?
It's called banh mi and if you do not know, you're really missing out.
It's already been done
Little does Burger King know, showing Western food being eaten with chopsticks is so passé. In fact, the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana did it just a few months ago when it launched three short videos on the Chinese social media network Weibo to promote its upcoming Shanghai runway. The videos featured an Asian woman trying to eat pizza, spaghetti and cannoli with chopsticks. With Chinese folk music playing in the background, a Mandarin-speaking voiceover says: "Welcome to the first episode of" Eating with Chopsticks "by Dolce & Gabbana" that's apparently pronounced in a way that mocks Chinese speech . [1
It's ignorant, it's lazy, and it's wrong
All joking, the main reason why Burger King's ad is so wrong is that it plays on lazy stereotypes based on Orientalist traditions. The ad first came to a lot of people's attention when Maria Mo, a Korean-New Zealander, posted her grievances about it to Twitter .
So this is the new Burger King ad for a "Vietnamese" burger ok coolcoolcoolcoolcool CHOPSTICKS R HILARIOUS right omg etc pic.twitter.com/zVD8CN04Wc
– 마리아. Maria (@mariahmocarey) April 4, 2019
In the context of the ad, chopsticks – an everyday eating utensil used by more than a billion people around the world – became primitive, clumsy and, frankly, absurd. Their larger-than-life size exaggerates those qualities and plays the "exoticism" and "foreignness" of Asian things. It's also weirdly offensive to non-Asian people who are, apparently, the only ones who are dumb enough to eat a burger with chopsticks just because it's "Vietnamese."
Even worse, it turns out that the ad posted on Twitter is actually part of a longer video promoting the Burger King's new Tastes of the World range. The full 30-second clip not only shows people trying to eat a burger with chopsticks but also boxing gloves (for the American burger) and robotic hands (for the Japanese 'tonkatsu' burger) as well.
But the biggest gag of all is that the ASA actually ordered the ad to be removed last month not for any reasons involving cultural insensitivity, but because the ad's final remark ("Just need another three!" ) normalized what it was believed to be "excessive consumption". While the ad was draped from TV screens, the full clip was available to watch on the Burger King's Facebook page until it was deleted today, shortly after The Spinoff contacted ASA about it.
It's clear that businesses like Burger King are in the business of being provocative. In January, Burger King also got into trouble for ad mimicking drug use, and the month before that she received complaints for showing someone cooking in a car.
We get it, modern advertising is all about being edgy and cool. But it's just straight-up lazy like "Chirri Garrick An Prawn Dumpring" kind of lazy or "sole finger saluting Kimmy Jong" kind of an Asian burger being eaten with chopsticks or robotic hands. of lazy A lot of people will be angry, but most of us will be tired. It's 2019: do we really need to be explaining why this is not funny any more?
The Spinoff's food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms . They believe talking about food is almost as much fun as eating it, and they are excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.