Burger King’s social slip-up this week was a lesson in the perils of using shock value to grab the attention of social media users. For many women and male allies, Burger King’s “Women belong in the kitchen” tweet was a punch to the gut in an industry long dealing with sexism. Although the campaign was used to promote a new culinary scholarship education program, many took to social media this week to express their disappointment around Burger King’s decision to use a patronizing joke to draw attention to its new campaign.
So Austin, Texas-based full-service ad agency Hunt, Gather decided to rework the Burger King campaign with its own inclusive twist for a line of merchandise, with all proceeds going to the Girls Empowerment Network, which runs camps and sells kits to inspire girls that they can become anything they want to be.
“It was International Women’s Day and we were celebrating our team, and to see that in print and tweeted out like that, it seemed so myopic,” says Kathy Horn, partner and creative director at Hunt, Gather, which is a women majority-owned agency, where 95% of the staff are women and create work for clients like Dell, Chipotle and Tastemade. “It just missed the mark. It felt like a setback. I know it was supposed to be thought-provoking, but no one stopped to think how it was supposed to be perceived. It was all we were talking about over Slack.”