Shockvertising: Burger King's Controversial Print Ad in Singapore



Case Code : CLMC053
Publication date : 2009
Subject : Marketing Communications
Industry : Fast Food/ Retail
Length : 05 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

Marketing communication, Advertising, AIDA, print ad, shockvertising, edgy advertising, promotion, sexual innuendo, cultural insensitivity, ethics, pay-off line, Burger King, Bon-Food, BK Super Seven Incher, Quick Service Restaurants, QSR, Singapore


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A print ad released for the 'BK Super Seven Incher' in mid2009 in Singapore attracted criticism for Burger King Corporation (BK) from around the world. Advertising experts as well as the international blogging community criticized the ad for its sexual innuendo and said that the ad was in bad taste. They also felt that the ad had little potential beyond its shock value. However, the ad agency that created the ad said that its clients were satisfied by the results of the promotional effort.


   Different types of appeals used in advertising
   AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) concept
   Ethics in advertising


Burger King Corporation (BK), headquartered in Miami-Dade Co, Florida, USA, had over the years been known for the edgy advertising tactics it adopted. These ads, which carried pay-off lines such as 'Have it Your Way' and 'It Takes Two Hands to Handle a Whopper', often had an uncluttered effect and some of these ads were also considered clever.

Questions for Discussion:

1. Critically analyze the 'BK Super Seven Incher' print ad. What are the pros and cons of launching such an ad?

2. The 'BK Super Seven Incher' had attracted a lot of criticism. What are the main concerns raised by critics? Do you think the ad was ethical? Why (not)?

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