Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is the King's a real Whopper?

Burger King’s mascot must not have apprenticed for his kingship in Great Britain, where you’d expect royal etiquette to be taught in the monarchy’s grade schools, along with jousting and defense against the dark arts. How else can you explain why the wooden-faced King and his minions keep getting into trouble over there?

As The Scoop reported, a high-level BK executive risked dungeon time a few weeks ago by asserting that the chain’s U.K. operation would probably lose at least 10 percent of its sales to a ban there on fast-food advertising during children’s telly programs. Within hours, BK headquarters in Miami was scrambling to halt the damage, asserting in a terse statement that the effect of the ban would actually be negligible. The quick sword work likely tempered the dip in the franchisor’s stock price.

Now comes word from across the pond that the King had turned knave again. The House of Whopper has been told to yank its television ads for the Double Whopper because of complaints that the specimen shown in the commercials is far larger than the sandwich sold in units. The Advertising Standards Authority agreed that the spots were misleading, and banished the King to darkness, at least for come-ons for that product.

There’s no word yet on how BK will close the gap between what’s shown in the commercials—or adverts, as the British call them—and what’s sold in the stores. Put another way, it’s not sure what the chain will upgrade, the floor model or the inventory.

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