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Ad Review: Your Way? Looks Like Burger King Is Going the Wrong Way

BK's New Tagline and Campaign Miss the Mark

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Advertising Age Player

When Burger King last week unveiled its new slogan, "Be Your Way," consumers in the U.S. were quick to point and laugh. What an ungrammatical pile of nonsense, they all said.

But what does a professional ad critic think?

What an ungrammatical pile of nonsense!

Let me not, however, get bogged down in grammar. Maybe it sounds better in Portuguese or Spanish or Chinese and will play well in the global markets where Burger King is hoping to grow.

The real problem with this slogan is its sheer audacity, as if up until now the entire population of Earth has been some way other than what we all wanted to be. But, thank God, Burger King has finally come along and given us permission to live life the way we want to live.

"Have it your way," in service for 40 years, was perfectly functional, honest and humble. The message: "We're a burger chain that will prepare your burger how you like it." Sure, it was old -- and it's not exactly a unique selling proposition these days. But, with the new slogan, rather than do the hard work of thinking up something appropriate, Burger King settled on this bit of foolish grandiosity. Fast feeder as life coach.

Lest you think I'm setting up a straw man just to knock it down, in a press release the company said the tagline "reminds people that no matter who they are, they can order how they want to in Burger King restaurants and that they can and should live how they want anytime. It's OK to not be perfect. Self-expression is most important and it's our differences that make us individuals instead of robots."

That's as nonsensical -- and insulting -- as the slogan itself. So points for consistency.

But that's about where consistency ends for current Burger King efforts. At the same time it was tapping David as agency of record and readying the rollout of some bordering-on-idiotic $1 menu ads, the company brought back the Subservient Chicken. While the original Subservient Chicken was an adland darling, heralded as the pioneer of virality and social-media engagement, a chicken to save us all from the evolutionary dead-end of TV advertising, I can't imagine there were any consumers pining for its resurrection. Granted, SC's return video was funny in its own way but the whole "find the chicken" bit left me wondering why anyone bothered crossing that road. It also reminded me less of the original SC effort and more of "Where's Herb?" (Go ahead and Google that bit of Burger King advertising history).

But what was the point in the overall scheme of things? I guess the chicken, no longer subservient, could be seen as the prophet of being your way.

That, however, doesn't mean either effort makes a damn bit of sense.

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