BURGER KING ICON USED IN STRIPTEASE VIRAL VIDEO

Over 4.1 Million Downloads of Unauthorized Racy Film

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Burger King’s iPod sponsorship on Heavy.com has spawned a wildly popular online parody of Miramax’s once infamous “The Crying Game.” A viral video of a striptease ends in a twist that leaves viewers staring in disbelief at Burger King’s The King mask.
The video begins with what appears to be a woman undressing and fondling herself and ends with a man in the Burger King mask.

Heavy.com, which also is running a promotion offering free video downloads for iPods backed by Burger King, features the faux striptease on its site. It has proven to be one of the most viral clips ever shown on the male-dominated, video-rich site.

“We’ve done over 4.1 million streams of that video,” said Simon Assaad, co-CEO at Heavy.com. “It’s a sensational hit.”

Shot of a woman
The video begins with a shot of a woman wearing a shirt and little else. The camera does not show her face. Suggestively, she touches herself and holds up handwritten signs of seduction. Then, as she removes her bra and stands up -– surprise -– the image morphs into a man wearing a King mask.

“You’ve been served by the King. You perv, you perv!” the “stripper” says.

The video was submitted by a Heavy.com user after the site handed out King masks to a handful of its fans. WPP Group interactive agency VML, which is the interactive agency of record for Burger King, had bought media for the video iPod campaign. It gave Heavy.com the masks because “they are our media partner,” said Nick Centofante, VML media director. A Burger King spokeswoman said its brand is part of the popular culture, and that the chain had no control over the video’s content.

The idea was to “try something where we see what the users want to do with the brand,” Mr. Assaad said. “They [VML] allowed us to provide it to people without any constraints. When users create content with their cultural icons, it’s not always in line with the strategy of the advertiser, but it’s really important because sometimes the consumers are more in touch with how to propagate a brand than the marketer is.”

Video to move
The Webcam striptease is not shown within the iPod free download section. In fact, the “skin” ad unit around the clip is for a "Beavis and Butt-Head" DVD set. But Jessica Brown, media manager at VML, said Heavy.com plans to place the video in the free download section soon. Another consumer-generated video is there now.

“The kind of site Heavy is, you don’t really have control over what people are going to do,” Ms. Brown said. “That’s the interesting thing about consumer-generated content.”

Heavy receives 6 million unique users a month and has a viral reach of 65 million. Content aims at males ages 18 to 34, the sweet spot of Burger King’s marketing target.

~~~ Kate MacArthur contributed to this article.

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