Burger King issues apology for ‘insensitive’ ad deemed culturally offensive

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The international fast-food chain Burger King is in hot water overseas where a recent ad went viral — apparently for the wrong reasons.

A clip from the commercial shows its pitch for the new Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp Burger. Among the concepts criticized by multiple online critics was the appearance of large chopsticks.

Actors used the utensils to grab the large sandwiches. And the ad’s tag line also struck some viewers as problematic.

“Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City,” the advertiser declared.

Critics soon sounded off on social media and through other channels. Maria Mo lives in New Zealand, where the ads reportedly aired, and is of Korean heritage.

“I couldn’t believe such blatantly ignorant ads are still happening in 2019,” she said in an interview. “I could not believe that such a concept was approved for such a big, well-known company.”

She went on to criticize the apparent “thought process” behind the spot.

“What’s Asian? Chopsticks!” Mo imagined the developers saying before they “just ran with it without giving a single thought to what kind of messages could be inferred by their customer base.”

Burger King seems to have reconsidered the content in light of the negative reception. A spokesperson confirmed it would no longer air, offering a corporate apology to those offended.

“The ad in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion,” the source said.

Mo described the theme of the ad as “Orientalism,” and several others shared her sentiment.

Do you believe this ad was offensive? Was Burger King’s apology sufficient? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.