"The Mary J. Blige advertisement was pulled off of the Burger
King YouTube channel due to a music-licensing issue, which Burger
King is in the process of resolving. We expect to have the ads back
up and on air soon," according to the statement. "Burger King
enlisted a diverse cast of A-list celebrities representing the many
faces of the American melting pot. Mary J. Blige is just one of the
celebrities helping to promote our new menu items, including Garden
Fresh Salads, Snack Wraps, Crispy Chicken Strips, Real Fruit
Smoothies and Frappes."
The statement did not describe the nature of the licensing
issue. Even if these issues are cleared up, the fast feeder and the
ad's star will still be faced with the criticism that , at best,
the ad is awful and, at worst, it plays into racial stereotypes.
The controversy has fueled negative publicity for both parties,
raising questions about how long the relationship will last.
Questions arose on websites such as clutchmagonline.com, described as
an online magazine for black women. "The stereotype about black
folks loving chicken is hundreds of years old, yet it seems more
rampant in fast-food advertising of the past few years than ever
before," the magazine said in a post today. "We clearly have larger
issues to worry about than the proliferation of old myths, but when
a legitimate commercial seems to mirror itself after a spoof of its
own subgenre, there's a problem."
Danielle Young, writing for hellobeautiful.com, described as
an "African-American woman's online lifestyle guide," wrote earlier
today that "all the backlash must have made Mary feel like the
April fool because Burger King has pulled the ad." But, she added,
"I'm not offended at all -- I think it's kind of funny."
The ad, by Mother , New York, is part of a larger campaign that uses a host of
expensive celebrities, including Jay Leno, David Beckham,
Steven Tyler and Sofia Vergara to push salads, chicken wraps,
smoothies, frappes and other new food items described as the
fast-feeder's biggest menu expansion in its 58-year history. Ms.
Vergara, a Columbian actress, "dons a BK uniform and spices up the
kitchen, making Garden Fresh Salad and Real Fruit Smoothies in
Spanish-language ads," according to a Burger King press release
published yesterday that describes the campaign.