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Muses of a taste test… December 22, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in life.
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Confined to my couch all day, while recovering from foot surgery, I’ve been watching a bit more TV than I normally do. It hasn’t been all that bad as I’ve enjoyed a few documentaries and a number of the “Mega” series shows on the History Channels where they do stories on mega things such as ships and rockets and trucks and buildings. It’s fascinating the demand we have for bigger, faster and stronger machines our world demands for manufacturing and shipping.

Throughout some of these shows, I’ve been bombarded a number of commercials, which is to be expected. But the one that gets the Couch Journal Annoying Commercial Award goes to Burger King and their Whopper Virgins campaign. It’s probably one of more ludicrous, most absurd commercials I’ve ever seen. I had a fleeting thought of linking one of the commercials to this post, but felt it might end up offending my readers.

In the commercial, the company travels to remote places in Thailand, Greenland and Romania, looking for people who have never eaten a burger. They then perform a taste-test in between the Whopper and McDonald’s Big Mac. The commercials show the locals experiencing their first taste, and, of course, they naturally choose the Whopper.

This commercial boggles my mind on many fronts, but do you want to know what the first series of questions were that ran through my were the first time I saw the ad?

  • Who made the Big Mac? How do we know that the Whopper people didn’t slap a piece of fried goat between a few buns, dribbled with a questionable sauce?
  • Was Ronald McDonald around to ensure quality control?
  • Did they get fries with their order, or the opportunity to upsize?
  • Were the testers surely and rude, just like the Burger King employees I’ve encountered, giving the tasters the true, Burger King experience?

We need answers here people! The reputations of virgins are at stake!

Seriously, one of the biggest complaints about the ad is Burger King’s exploitation of different cultures and their methods of introducing highly commercialized food products into these cultures. In response to criticism, Burger King issued a press release stating:

In keeping with BKC’s philanthropic philosophy to give back to the communities in which it lives and works, at the conclusion of each taste test, Burger King Corp. worked cooperatively with local authorities to make donations, tailored specifically to benefit each individual community that participated in the ‘study’ and make a lasting contribution in each region.

While it makes me feel better knowing that some village in backlands Thailand has a new community center, it makes me wonder if that building is emblazoned with a big ‘ol Burger King logo on the front and a statue of the King standing in the village square?

It’s for this reason, that I believe in organizations like Epic Change. Their aim is not to just dump aid on those in need; we have many organizations that do a good job of that. The goal of Epic Change is to provide the financial resources, in the form of interest-free loans so that the community can improve their own efforts and making a better life for their community members while maintaining their unique their culture. A built-in side effect is of these loans are the repayments that are recycled to fund other projects and help other communities.

Join with me as I work to make that difference… even from my couch.

-marc

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