Turkey of the Week: Burger King's mouldy Whopper smells rotten

This reeks of awards bait.

Remember that strange week on Twitter when our feeds were dominated by a debate about a mouldy burger? Burger King’s ad featuring a rotting Whopper – promoting its decision to remove artificial preservatives from the product – has certainly polarised opinion, at least in this small corner of the world we call adland. 

Fans hail the brand’s counter-intuitive choice to advertise food by showing its deterioration as "brave" and "risky" (terms generally applied far too liberally when it comes to marketing, let’s be honest). The other camp (which I fall into) points out that this is a gross image that won’t actually appeal to real people who might buy burgers. Released just a few months before Cannes Lions, this reeks of awards bait. 

Burger King’s ad is perfect fodder, though, for the ephemeral environment of social media: thrown to the hordes of hungry Twitter commentators, it is dissected, gobbled up and ultimately discarded, without ever meeting an appetite for something substantial and real. 

Brand Burger King
Title The mouldy Whopper
Client Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer
Agencies David Miami, Ingo Stockholm, Publicis Worldwide