Burger King sets out to reduce cow farts in campaign with Michel Gondry and the yodeling kid

Plan to cut livestock methane emissions with the help of a lemongrass-enhanced diet is explained by kids in a music video from We Believers

Published On
Jul 14, 2020

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“When cows fart and burp and splatter, well it ain’t no laughing matter. They’re releasing methane every time they do.” 

Those are the opening lines of a two-minute music video explaining Burger King’s push to reduce methane emissions emitted by the cattle used in its burgers by feeding some lemongrass to the cows.

The kid-filled video, which includes a catchy “reducing methane” refrain, is whimsical and colorful. The song tells an environmental story about how changing what cows eat can reduce greenhouse gases. As yodeling sensation Mason Ramsey sings in the video, “the scientists have proven that it works.” Directed by Michel Gondry, “Cows Menu” has a feel unlike any other Burger King work that’s airing.

“This project from the very beginning was about proving the case,” says Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer at Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International.

We Believers, the agency that previously introduced edible six-pack rings to replace the plastic that holds cans together, approached Burger King with the idea.

“We said ‘what if we create a menu for cows that helps us to reduce methane emissions?’” says Gustavo Lauria, co-founder and chief creative officer at We Believers.

Scientists, in collaboration with the agency and Burger King, tested the addition of different herbs to cows’ diets, including chamomile and lemongrass. Adding 100 grams of lemongrass leaves to a cattle’s daily feed in the last four months of its life reduced its daily methane emissions by up to 33 percent.

Some scientists were already experimenting with diets for cows but many of the ideas, such as feeding them a specific type of seaweed found in Australia, weren’t scalable, Lauria recalls. Lemongrass, on the other hand, can be grown at scale if the idea catches on.

Once the results were in, We Believers and Burger King wanted to have an entertaining way to explain the project. “What could be better than a cowboy kid singing about a better world?” says Lauria. 

Gondry, the director of movies including “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” who has shot ads for the likes of Chobani and FedEx, was brought on to direct. “When you want to do something that is in that kind of tone, and that kind of look and feel, Michel is the perfect option,” Lauria said of the French director.

The video shoot took place in Los Angeles in February, before the pandemic led to shutdowns of large gatherings. (Gondry wore a mask to set.) The debut was not delayed much by the pandemic, says Machado, who says Burger King always wanted to release the project around the middle of 2020. 

Burger King began selling a plant-based Impossible Whopper in the U.S. in 2019, for those seeking an alternative to beef. Now, it’s offering meat-eaters in select markets a way to feel a bit better about the environmental footprint of products they buy from the Home of the Whopper. It seems adding some lemongrass to the cattle’s feed doesn’t alter the taste. Machado says he can’t taste a difference.

“I really think that we need to be providing sustainable solutions to people without having the people carrying the burden in terms of cost, in terms of taste,” says Machado.  

Burger King is making the recipe open-sourced, hoping that others come on board, even its competitors. Wording on the screen toward the end of the video reads “Since we are part of the problem, we are working to be part of the solution.” 

For now, Burger King is only selling its Reduced Methane Emissions Beef Whoppers while supplies last in a total of five restaurants across five markets: Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Portland. Machado hopes more suppliers replicate the recipe, leading to more of the beef being available both at Burger King and elsewhere. “Working to expand the program, that is the real ambition,” he says. 

See a behind-the-scenes video below and read more about the project over at AdAge.com.



Jul 14, 2020
Client :
Burger King
Agency :
We Believers
Chief Creative Officer :
Gustavo Lauria
Group Creative Director :
Santiago Luna Lupo
Head of Art :
Diego Grandi
Copywriter :
Gustavo Lauria
Copywriter :
Santiago Luna Lupo
Art Director :
Diego Grandi
Lyrics :
Gustavo Lauria
Lyrics :
Steve Mudd
Head of Production :
Marcia Jaes
Head of Planning :
Marco Vega
Head of Client Services :
Jose Quijano
Brand Manager :
Juan Cano
Creative Coordinator :
Rocio Fernandez Sasso
Production Company :
Partizan Pictures
Director :
Michel Gondry
Director of Photography :
Shawn Kim
Managing Director :
Lisa Tauscher
Head of Production :
Kelly Martin
Producer :
Raffi Adlan
Production Designer :
Maxwell Orgell
1st AD :
Andy Coffing
Choreographer :
Mandy Moore
Editorial :
Final Cut - LA
Editor :
Jeff Buchannan
2nd Editor :
Diego Panich
Post Production :
The Mill LA
Creative Director / VFX Supervisor :
Glyn Tebbutt
Senior VFX Producer :
Erin Hicke
Music & Music Publisher :
Pickle Music
Composer :
Alexis Estiz
Composer :
Steve Mudd
Lyrics :
Gustavo Lauria
Lyrics :
Steve Mudd
Sound Designer :
Jacob Bloomfield-Mirsrach
Sound Designer :
Biijan Sharifi
Sound Designer :
Dario Calequi
Executive Producer :
Alexis Estiz
Producer :
Lia Mitchell
Producer :
Courtney Jenkins
Performer :
Mason Ramsey
Global CMO :
Fernando Machado
Head of Global Brand Marketing :
Diego Suarez
Head of Brand Communications :
Marcelo Pascoa
VA Senior Manager :
Rachel Kellerman
Director Marketing & Advertising :
Rogelio Magana
Head of Innovation & Sustainability :
Elmis Medina
Head of Innovation :
Matthew Banton
Research Team :
PhD. Octavio A. Castelán-Ortega
Research Team :
PhD. Ermias Kebreab

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