Agency sells Burger King merch that flips the script on chain's flawed International Women’s Day campaign
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.”
As soon as the agency saw Burger King’s campaign and tweet on International Women’s Day, the team worked through the day, and by midnight, was able to publish the webpage burger-queen.com where people can buy T-shirts, tote bags, stickers and a poster with empowering statements for a good cause. The effort was spearheaded by Lynna Bartosh, partner and creative director at Hunter, Gather.
At the top of the webpage, the “in the kitchen” part of Burger King’s campaign is crossed out, and instead reads: “Women belong wherever the fuck they want.” That same line appears on a tote bag for $20.
Unisex T-shirts in Burger King colors are on sale for $25 and read: “A Woman’s Place is anywhere she wants,” “Don’t kingsplain,” and “Have it Her Way,” a play on Burger King’s old slogan “Have it Your Way.” A sticker pack with some of the sayings are on sale for $15 and a poster reading “Queens Unite! Dethrone the king” is selling for $25. The website is also taking $10 donations to the Girls Empowerment Network.
Horn says more than 40 items have been sold already and the agency expects to sell out. “Even though we were all pretty slammed, our agency’s badass women put in the effort and designed it all in one day,” says Horn. “The response has been so positive and great.”