Thursday, July 13, 2006

Burger King Commercial Rant

Have you seen the new BK commercial? The one with the little people in construction hard hats building burgers, and one gets smooshed?

I hate it.

It makes me mad every time I see it. There's a BK less than two blocks from us, and I used to take my daughter there for lunch every few weeks. Now I won't, because every time I see it, I think of that commercial.

It's not blatantly disrespectful, except for one thing: the whole point of the commercial (other than that their burgers are big) is that little people are little. That's it. End of joke.

It's just not funny. And the fact that they're using little people in a commercial like this, well, it just seems degrading to me. I mean, what if a company made, say, a product that was white, and chose to illustrate this point by using black people in the commercial (let's not even mention the part about one of them being injured by the product.) You can sure bet that there would be an outcry.

The other thing is that someone had to come up with this concept, develop it, approve it. How did so many people get involved and still make this commercial? I have a feeling that the folks who conceived, made, approved this commercial didn't refer to the actors as "little people" while talking about it-- they probably think of them as "midgets".

And that's what really bothers me about the commercial, the whole thing just screams "hey everyone, look at the MIDGETS!" to me. That's probably not what they intended, but that's the effect. I was taught that "midget" was a pejorative term on the level of "the n-word", not to be used or even thought by polite, non-prejudiced people. The self-chosen preferred term is "little people" (or some prefer "person of short stature" or just "short person".) Also acceptable would be the name of the medical condition the person in question suffers from, but that would be in a medical context, where the condition actually does matter as much as or more than the person. Also in a medical context, "dwarf" and "dwarfism" might be appropriate, although one must be careful because those terms can become pejorative, too.

So that's why Burger King has lost my business. I was with them on the creepy, funny King-in-a-plastic-mask commercials; I was with them on the huge funky chicken commercials; I even like the food. But this commercial bothers me so much, I just can't eat there anymore. And yes, I will write them about it (although it's taking me a while because unlike other companies, they do not have an "e-mail us" feature on their website; you have to actually write a letter and send it snail-mail, ugh! Get with the times!) But unless I see a public apology for this commercial, I have to say that they're on the list with McDonald's and Wal-Mart-- what we call "the evil places" in my family, not to be patronized except in a life-threatening emergency, and preferably not then, either. Too bad, too, it was so convenient to spend my money there. Their loss, I guess. Except, when we condone, promote, or otherwise put out into the world derogatory images of others, it's all our loss, and especially our children's.

1 comment:

Awesome Mom said...

I often wonder what is going through the minds of people that make commercials. There are so many dumb and just plain offensive ones.