Wish it was a Whopper? Burger King plays on iconic gold medal bite in marketing stunt

Ever envied an athlete biting into his or her gold medal while standing on the podium of the Olympic Games? Well, Burger King Belgium is turning the tables and making consumers the centre of envy instead. Playing on the iconic pose where athletes pretend to bite into their medals after winning a match, Burger King is offering viewers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games free Whopper burgers when they take a photo or screenshot of an athlete biting into their medal and post it on social media with the hashtag #WishItWasAWhopper.

The Whopper Medals campaign runs on social media from 27 July to the end of the Olympics on 8 August. At the same time, it also created a 35-second spot featuring a series of photos of athletes biting into their medals. The video ends with the quote: "This time during the games, you won't envy the athletes. They will envy you." The campaign was done in collaboration with French ad agency Buzzman.  

According to a recent blog post on the Olympics website, the act of biting into a medal is actually a request from the photographers, which has become a familiar sight during the Games. Historically, traders bit their gold coins to check its authenticity as gold is a soft metal that would leave a mark under slight stress. However, the International Olympic Committee stopped awarding pure gold medals in 1912. The medal-biting pose is now just  "an obsession with photographers" and not something the athletes would likely do on their own, David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, told CNN in 2012.

While Burger King is known for its witty marketing initiatives, its International Women's Day stunt went awry in March this year. For the campaign, Burger King ran print and social media ads with a large headline "Women belong in the kitchen". The headline was followed by a smaller font stating that only 20% of chefs are women, and that Burger King looks to change the gender ratio by empowering its female employers. While its CMO later explained that the intention behind the stunt was good, netizens were quick to point out that it was risky for Burger King to expect its audience to find out more about its post, instead of taking it at face value.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Burger King Malaysia's CEO Ng Lee Tieng recently also took on the dual role as Singapore's CEO after the former CEO Goh Chin Hou left on 22 July. In Singapore, Ng will continue to accelerate local store expansion and drive the brand's digital transformation from multichannel to omnichannel in the near future, said Burger King.

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