Best of 2021: Burger King's Impossible Whopper adds more confusion to these confusing times

Campaign from David Madrid touches on everything from elbow sneezing to wearing pajamas while working

Published On
Mar 04, 2021

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's, we will be counting down our picks for 2021's 30 best ads and creative marketing ideas.

At No. 19: Burger King's witty radio ads verbalize 2021'a "confusing times" -- with a product message.

Burger King has found a fresh way to bring humor to what it describes as today’s confusing times: radio ads featuring a man verbalizing people’s thoughts on how to deal with everything from contact-free personal greetings during the pandemic to what really constitutes being environmentally conscious.

See the full list of 2021's Best Ads.

Each of the 90-second radio spots begins more like a public service announcement than a fast-food ad. The sales pitch in the campaign is that Burger King’s Impossible Whopper can be confusing since it does not have beef but tastes like a Whopper.

But the spots are more focused on people’s inner dialogues being expressed by an actor in a calming-meets-hilarious voice.

The campaign comes from agency David Madrid.

The thoughts in the spots range from a woman who is more excited to take her dog out of her house than the dog is, to a guy who bought a book on climate change, “but it’s shipped from England, by plane, wrapped in plastic.” There’s also the question of whether to bump elbows when we’re also told to sneeze into them. Plus, is it acceptable to call someone’s father “old man?”


In one spot, the voiceover actor Edward Robinson speaks the minds of new parents asked by people when they’ll have their next baby, who wonder “what’s wrong with this one?” And there’s a woman named Karen — of course — who hates judgy people. So, does that make her judgy?

As the ads recognize, without overtly mentioning the pandemic, these are confusing times. And, it seems, the confusion makes it time for the Impossible Whopper, which is made without beef but tastes like a Whopper. The campaign positions the Impossible Whopper as a product that might seem unexpected, coming as it does from Burger King, which is clearly known for hamburgers. Burger King was actually an early entrant into the plant-based category, officially launching its Impossible Whopper nationwide in 2019. 

The “Confusing Times” campaign is airing in the U.S. on Spotify and Dax, the digital audio ad platform.