Why Burger King's New Sensitive Slogan Might Be A Whopper Of A Mistake


My family and I don't eat out often, and when it comes to chain-giant, Burger King, I can count the times we've eaten there over the last year on one hand (and while holding my thumb down). However, I do enjoy the occasional Whopper, and except for the freaky Burger King king, I have little to complain about the chain.

I also rather like the old Burger King jingle. You remember this one?

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders won't upset us, all we ask is that you let us serve it your way. Have it your way! Have it your way at Burger King!

As popular and widely recognized as this slogan is, heads at Burger King, have decided to scrap it. Instead of "Have It Your Way!" they will now be advertising their products with the line, "Be Your Way!"

In a released announcement, BK corporate heads stated that the new motto is meant to remind people that "they can and should live how they want anytime. It's ok to not be perfect ... Self-expression is most important and it's our differences that make us individuals instead of robots."

BK's senior vice president of global brand management, Fernando Machado, has expanded on the change by saying, "We want to evolve from just being the functional side of things to having a much stronger emotional appeal."

Now I have my doubts BK corporates are making this move out of the sheer altruistic goal to be warm, cuddly and sensitive. It could be their marketing staff just think they need to act more warm, cuddly and sensitive in order to draw in more patrons. It could be possible that they have just jumped the political correctness shark. And there is always the possibility that the BK corporation is just a little embarrassed about the number of calls to 9-1-1 services reported each year from pissed off consumers complaining how BK messed up their orders. Yes, these are stupid calls from people who don't care to hog up the 9-1-1 operators about non-emergency events. And one might see how the signature slogan, "Have It Your Way!" could be construed as encouraging of such inconsiderate behavior (and especially by attorneys that specialize in representing inconsiderate jerks in courts of law).

Whatever the genuine motive behind the change, I am not sure BK has thought out the possible repercussions. Just as there are people out there that think the "Have it your way!" motto is a binding legal agreement set in place to protect them from condiment-happy servers, there are going to those that see, "Be Your Way!" under similarly dimmed-bulb light. Because the human race is amazing for its ability to assume the unlikely, don't be surprised if in the near future we hear of BK patrons walking in with full expectation to be welcomed -as the new slogan implies- exactly as they are and nothing less:

Men that don't wear shirts. Teens that don't wear shoes. Nudists. People that like to scream their orders. People that prefer to write their orders on their hands. Mimes that like to act out their orders. People that want to psychically message an order. Men in long trench coats that prefer to have the server grope the order out of their pockets. Newlyweds that want to celebrate their nuptials on the order counter. Kids that want to drink their milkshakes directly from the dispenser. People that like to eat off the floor. People that wear live tarantulas in their hair. People that like to shave while eating. People that like to videotape other people eating. People that prefer to eat their meals in the restroom. People that like to videotape other people eating their meals in the restroom. People that like to dance between the tables. People that like to do aerobatics from the light fixtures. Hearse drivers that bring their work to breakfast. Beekeepers that bring their work to lunch. Porn film makers that bring their work to dinner. Prison road crews. The Flog & Leather Society. "People of Walmart" kind of people.

Burger King wants to be sensitive to patrons, no matter how "fragrant" they may be.
Burger King wants to be sensitive to patrons, no matter how "fragrant" they may be.

The scenario is a little exaggerated, of course, because in our nannified culture, there is one type of people you know BK will not extend the "Be Your Way!" attitude. One of these is my husband, who says his dream is to enjoy a meal at Burger King with his bacon cheeseburger in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

There is something else about the new slogan I doubt has crossed the brilliant minds of BK execs: that infrequent -and yet cash-in-hand- customers as myself might just cut our visits down to 0. With the fast-food joints I do occasionally visit, I already put up with a lot. There are the nutrition content displays plastered on the walls and placed at every table, all reminding me how the government dictates our personal dining choices. There are the drive-thru's with the sound systems that pipe every word of order exchange inside the restaurant. There are the flimsy, frustrating plastic spoons they provide for eating desserts, and when they run out of the spoons, what do they hand out? Diabolic sporks. There are the pre-fab seats you can't adjust. So far, I've endured all this baloney without complaint. But I will be damned if I put up with a slogan designed to show me how sensitive the restaurant is to my uniqueness. I am a freaking adult and I don't need nor want any more condescending attitude than I already put up with during the course of my carb-conscious, calorie-mindful, smoking-prohibited, silverware-free, posture-compromised dining experience.

Patrons with too much pride to sacrifice their last iota of self-respect may be few and far between. There will always be the trendies among us who will only eat at the most highly promoted restaurants, and the new BK advertising ploy will surely appeal to their sense of chic. And I dare say that people that habitually eat at BK out of convenience will simply not care if the chain is or is not the place to go for an ego stroke. So no, I don't foresee BK suffering any immediate setback from their slogan change.

However, I have to wonder how the deliberate patronizing of patrons is going to affect BK sales down the road. The old slogan was not only catchy and well-liked, it was straightforward. By contrast, the "Be Your Way!", is a dish dressed up with a huge dollop of psychological b.s..However well this campaign idea may go over at the commencement, I suspect it is one dish that's going to leave a bad taste for many consumers. The BK corp. can claim their goal is to show their sensitivity for the whole customer, not just his or her functional eating choices. But the truth is people come for the food and not some I'm Okay, You're Okay life-affirming confirmation. People recognize condescension for what it is, and sooner or later we always come to resent it.

My advice to BK would be to stick with what you do right. Make me a burger; easy on the mayo, extra onion please, and for god's sake spare me the creepy.

This Hub ©May 21, 2014 by Beth Perry

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Comments 14 comments

stclairjack profile image

stclairjack 2 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

excellent as always!


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee Author

Thanks stclairjack :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Interesting and funny hub. I agree that too many businesses have slogans that are somewhat condescending to the patrons. In Australia, 'Burger King' is called 'Hungry Jack's', but they too have a burger called 'the whopper'. The old slogan here was "it takes two hands to handle a whopper" advertising that their burger was bigger than McDonalds' 'Big Mack'. I don't even know what their current slogan is, but as long as they let you choose to hold the 'mayo' unlike McDonalds(who must use it to disguise the taste of all other ingredients) I prefer their food. Voted up.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee Author

Hi Jodah, and thanks much.

That's interesting! Big Macs here come with "special sauce", which I'm pretty sure is just Thousand Island dressing. And thank goodness they don't put mayo on them. And I don't know which I like better,Big Mac's or Whoppers, but like in Australia the Whopper is definitely bigger.


travmaj profile image

travmaj 2 years ago from australia

Well said - good to see through a condescending slogan and slam it rather than just accept. Made me laugh too. How easy it is just to go with the flow. How superior to think they are doing patrons a favour. I guess that's what they want you to think.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee Author

I agree, travmaj, thanks for the insightful comment!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Ah, but we do miss the good old days where fast food joints competed using taste, price, and speed of delivery slogans instead of condescending PC garbage.

Good one!


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee Author

Oh yes, Will, yes indeed!


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

True article from a marketing perspective they've really trapped themselves


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee Author

Thank you for reading, joedolphin88!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether

LOL craziness. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Beth. :)


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee Author

Happy to, kitty, thanks for dropping by!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

It's been awhile since I've eaten there but I do remember the good taste of the char-grilled burger. Their ads do seem to lack taste. I just saw their new marketing idea: 10 nuggets for about 1.50. I hope it truly is a deal -- is there any meat in it at that price?


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee Author

teaches12345, good question. For what it is worth, since I originally posted this Hub I have eaten at Burger King a total of 0. So much for the power of condescending advertisements lol!

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