ITV 50 Years of Fame: Private view - Burger King

What is it about JWT planners that leads the folk at Campaign to assume that we are well-placed to focus on, let's say, the "higher calorie" end of the creative spectrum?

While I digest the tasty offerings from Burger King over the years, my learned colleague Rob Alexander is at his desk consuming Mars Bar's greatest hits (quite literally). Well, I suppose we are both "big boned", but that's not the point.

Onwards into the delectable offerings from the flame grill of Burger King.

First up, a relatively recent ad where mum curtails a bedtime story in order to tuck in to a Double Melt - brought home by the dutiful husband (1). (Who said chivalry was dead?) Humorously treated, "irresistibility" is clearly communicated, but doesn't quite give me the urge. After all - for us Burger King loyalists, it's all about the burgers.

Ah, yes - I was right, it is all about the burgers as the next ad proclaims (2). A New York Mafioso type trains Burger King staff to deliver true American service but gives up in order to let those Burger King people concentrate on the important stuff, such as the New York Deli Double.

It certainly gets "new news" across with a degree of self-deprecation but I'd still like a little more beef.

Now we are talking ... Open warfare with the launch of the Big King (3).

Now, to my mind, this burger has never really matched a Double Whopper (with cheese), but I like the tasty aggression in this execution, even if I have to live with puns such as "griller warfare", scenes of burgers on military manoeuvres and Frankie's Two Tribes soundtrack.

This ad was designed to make me proud of the burgers at Burger King and there's no mistaking the B*g M*c enemy. Great burgers should have great enemies.

Then the Whopper (4). The god of burgers. This ad uses fire to highlight the unique flame-grilled approach. Sometimes, whatever you say in ads just can't live up to the splendid reality, but at least this plays to the Whopper lad's flame-grilled strengths. Say one thing well and all that - this says "flames".

I then come to an ad about a perfection-seeking pop star ordering her entourage around in preparation for a gig (5). Naturally, she can get whatever she wants at Burger King and however she wants it. A customisation and range ad - highlighting a truth of Burger King but, as shy retiring Brits, aren't most of us too scared to ask for it "your way"?

Finally, the UK launch ad from yesteryear (6). Fire rips through a map of the US and across to the UK, as a gravel-voiced Michael Boltonesque song underpins rousing images of flame-grilled burgers. America's most famous stripes indeed, and while this was music to our ears at a time when all we knew was Wimpy's cold-plated and limp fare, you can't help wondering how this rousing celebration of American domination would play with British consumers today. George Dubya would love it.

To summarise the Burger King years - rugged American voiceovers, food "money" shots, big music, flames, big, bold typography and one or two quality puns tastily sandwich the ongoing product innovation announcements and underpin the brand. Naturally, there are highs and lows, but overall you do get a positive sense of flame-grilled authenticity and a celebration of burger.

Talking of which, I'm off for a salad with Rob. Maybe we'll treat ourselves and "go large" on the lettuce.

1. DOUBLE MELTS Title: Bedtime story Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners Year: 2003 2. NEW YORK DELI DOUBLE Title: New York Deli Agency: Lowe Lintas Year: 2001 3. BIG KING BURGER Title: Griller warfare Agency: Lowe Lintas Year: 1998 4. WHOPPER Title: The god of hell and fire Agency: Lowe Lintas Year: 1998 5. BK FLAMER Title: Woman pop star Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Year: 1991 6. BURGER KING FLAME-GRILLED BURGER Title: Fire across America to London Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Year: 1985

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