Burger King’s New Chopsticks Ad Proves Racism Is Alive And Well

April 08, 2019

When you’re a major fast food chain with establishments all over the world, you probably want to approach marketing tactics with thoughtfulness and inclusivity — especially as, you know, cultural sensitivity is important. One way to massively fail in your marketing buzz (and as, you know, human beings) is to make a blatantly disrespectful and downright racist commercial for your new food items.

Sadly, that’s just what Burger King has done in a New Zealand advertisement for their new Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp burger. The video features several people attempting to, ungracefully and ridiculously, eat a burger with chopsticks — because that makes total freaking sense and isn’t insulting at all, RIGHT?

The thought process here was clearly, “Well, we can make fun of someone else’s culture, no problem!” Just because people in Vietnam use chopsticks (in addition to forks and spoons), that doesn’t mean you get to make an ad for a Vietnamese-inspired burger reducing the use of chopsticks to a silly spectacle. The ad features a Western world-centric point of view and pokes fun at Asian countries’ way of eating.

For a restaurant to do that is a real shame, especially since food is something that has always been used to bring people together.

One blog, Viet World Kitchen, says,“A steak can be eaten with fork and knife or sliced up and enjoyed with chopsticks. We also eat with our hands (lettuce-wrapped foods).” Put simply, people eat their food in ways that makes sense, and this may include chopsticks or hands or a knife. This only proves the ad was reductionist.

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It would seem Burger King didn’t do their research, at all — in addition to reaching for a cheap and tasteless joke. And make no mistake — this may seem silly, but it’s actually just racist.

The post, which was originally shared to the the company’s social media, has since been deleted.

As one Twitter user stated, the ad is essentially saying: “Orientalism is harmless funnnn.” Apparently, the company Y&R works on New Zealand Burger King’s ads:

In a HuffPost article, writer reports that Maria Mo, a Korean New Zealander, watched the ad and said,

“I couldn’t believe such blatantly ignorant ads are still happening in 2019, it honestly took me a second to work out what the heck I was looking at.”

And the Internet definitely agrees:

In fact, people are calling for Burger King to thoroughly explore what happened here. And we are, too. Even though a team at an ad company may have conceived of and created this ad, someone at Burger King had to sign off on it.

The internet is demanding an explanation, and sharing the story so that people can see what racism actively looks like in 2019.

We hope the chain learns from their mistake and posts a statement about what the heck happened.

This tweet is referencing a Dolce & Gabbana ad that idiotically showcased an Asian woman being taught how to eaten Western foods (like pizza) with chopsticks. Yikes.

In the end, we have to examine the way we reduce, stereotype, and oppress cultures and people — and we have to continue speaking up when it happens.

It’s not just an ad, as some naysayers on Twitter are saying. It’s an example of explicit modern-day racism.

And yeah, we feel like this, too:

Burger King, it’s your turn to speak up and make this right.