Burger King has come under fire for a marketing stunt it pulled yesterday in line with International Women's Day. The fast-food restaurant ran print and social media ads with a large headline "Women belong in the kitchen", followed by a smaller font stating that only 20% of chefs are women, and Burger King looks to change the gender ratio by empowering its female employers. The posts on Twitter and Instagram saw many netizens riled up, with several criticising the burger joint for its statement. Although it is unclear if the netizens read the post in full, some netizens were quick to point out that it is risky for Burger King to expect its audience to find out more about its post, instead of taking it at face value. Burger King has since taken down its post and posted an apology tweet on Twitter.
"We hear you. We got our initial tweet wrong and we’re sorry. Our aim was to draw attention to the fact that only 20% of professional chefs in UK kitchens are women and to help change that by awarding culinary scholarships. We will do better next time," the statement read.
However, netizens are still unhappy with Burger King, and have continued to criticise the brand. One netizen said: "Shouldn't have written that tweet in the first place. I never even went to Burger King before because it's so shit, now I will NEVER go. Only because of the idiocy of thinking that tweet would go well." Another netizen wrote that the apology is not accepted because Burger King allegedly defended the tweet even after it was told that it is inappropriate. "What baffles me is that anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place, if 2020 taught us anything it’s that oppression is not a joke."
Meanwhile, there are also a few netizen who stood by the the brand. One pointed out that the thread was clear and obvious, and Burger King did not need to apologise for it. "80% of chefs in the industry are male. That needs changing. Women need more of a chance. So yes they DO belong in the kitchen. Working in a kitchen if they wish," the user added. Additionally, a couple of users also said there were not offended. "It made me want to see where they were going with and it’s horrible that there isn’t more female representation in the culinary field. That’s how I took it. And they did say “if they want to”. I don’t know, maybe I’m not that sensitive?" one netizen said.
This is not the first time Burger King has gotten into trouble with the online community with its unconventional marketing tactics. Last October in the US, Burger King celebrated Halloween by encouraging consumers to visit some of its abandoned storefronts. In exchange, users received a free Whopper coupon at the end of the "visit". This marketing efforts ruffled some netizens' feathers, with some saying that while they usually love Burger King's campaigns, the campaign "made [some] cringe a little bit", was "absolutely tasteless", "opportunistic" and "missed the mark".
Separately, Burger King recently went through its first complete rebrand in more than 20 years. Adopting a new minimalist logo, Burger King said the new visual design will “more authentically represent Burger King values” and signals a commitment to a digital-first expression and recent improvements to taste and food quality, as well as its pledge to environmental sustainability. The new logo is said to pay homage to the brand heritage with a refined design that’s confident, simple and fun, and seeks to meet the brand evolution of the times.
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