Burger King and I used to have a good thing going. They would run ridiculous advertisements on TV involving their terrifying King mascot and in return, when I was in the mood to order crap food that I would regret eating the next day, I would purchase one of their delicious chicken sandwiches. Things were great for years, but recently the company decided to spit in the face of our unspoken agreement and release a new series of ads promoting a taste test among “Whopper Virgins.”
If you haven’t seen these ads, allow me to explain how they work. Burger King sends a camera crew out to some remote village (one of the few small villages remaining in the world that doesn’t yet have a McDonalds, Burger King or Starbucks) and finds local townspeople who have never tasted the greasy, processed mush we refer to as fast food. Then, provided that they can convince these simple folks that the cameras won’t steal their souls, the Burger King crew videotapes these confused people eating both a Whopper and a Big Mac and asks them to choose which one they like the best. Overwhelmingly, these “Whopper Virgins” choose the Whopper over the Big Mac.
(Sadly, at no point does the Burger King mascot pop out from behind the scenes and attempt to stuff dollar bills down these villagers’ pants.)
These Whopper Virgin commercials are stupid on a number of levels. First of all, the term “Whopper Virgin” is absurd. According to my trusty dictionary, a virgin is defined as “a person who has never had sex.” Therefore, we can deduce that a Whopper Virgin is a person who has never had sex with a Whopper. Hopefully, with the possible exception of this guy, no one has ever fucked a hamburger. I know Burger King has always said that you can “have it your way,” but I always assumed they weren’t encouraging you to actually have intercourse with their signature sandwich. Besides, if you were going to fuck a hamburger, I hope you would at least go for the Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Burger. I mean, just because you are sticking your junk in your Happy Meal, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your dignity by banging a cheap piece of meat.
While I think that we can all agree that calling these people Whopper Virgins is a poor choice of words, I can understand why Burger King would give them that moniker. After all, it’s a lot catchier than “unwashed aborigines who have never eaten a Whopper and who can’t quite understand what Burger King is and why these people are shoving a camera in their faces.” But, putting the stupid name aside for a moment, the entire logic behind these commercials seems flawed.
Burger King claims that this is the world’s most pure taste test, since these people have never heard of Burger King or McDonalds, which means they are unbiased. Having never tasted a hamburger before, supposedly these Whopper Virgins are best equipped to judge once and for all which burger is best. But honestly, what kind of sense does that make? I understand taste tests where participants wear blindfolds and pick which soda they like best so that people who think they like Pepsi because of it’s clever advertising will discover that they actually prefer Coke (or that they can’t tell Coke and Pepsi apart, which amazingly many people seem unable to do). If Burger King had simply done a blind taste test to decide which burger was best, then I wouldn’t have taken the time to write this column. But their big selling point of the commercials – finding people who have never tasted a Whopper or a Big Mac – is fundamentally flawed.
Sticking with the virgin idea, let’s say that you and your friends were conducting a scientific experiment to find out which one of the ladies in your social circle was the best in bed (this may sound scandalous, but for the sake of this analogy, let’s assume that this is a very important and professional experiment, with lab coats, beakers and all that jazz, and that if done correctly you and your friends could win the Nobel Prize). Would you have these ladies all sleep with a virgin to determine who is the best in the sack? Of course not. The virgin would have no clue what was going on. He’d be dealing with strange sensations that he’s never experienced before and would be too nervous and confused to properly judge the situation.
That’s how I imagine this taste test played out for these poor Whopper Virgins. Assuming that the Burger King crew was able to overcome the language and cultural barriers and adequately explain to these people what the hell they were doing in their village, I assume the villagers didn’t quite know what to think of the two fast food hamburgers placed in front of them. If you had spent your whole life eating animal meat that wasn’t pumped full of growth hormones and pesticide-free fruit and vegetables, I would imagine eating American fast food would be a jolt to your system. I’d love to see the footage that ended up on the cutting room floor to find out just how many of these pour souls ended up regurgitating their delicious Whoppers and Big Macs later that evening.
Even without the flawed logic of the entire setup, you also have to consider that Burger King conducted these taste tests on their own, which makes the entire process suspect. Who knows how fresh the Big Macs were that they were handing out to the villagers – they could have purchased a bunch of them in America and just tossed them all into a bag, only to later serve them side by side with a Whopper that was made fresh. For all I know, they could have told the villagers that if they didn’t select the Whopper, it would greatly upset their gods or that the Burger King Corporation would make it so that it will never rain in their village again. Whatever actually happened during the taste test, I guarantee you that those villagers are still telling tales of the day the crazy white people came into their town offering everyone strange meat (not unlike that unsettling camping trip I had when I was in Boy Scouts, but I digress).
Since tomorrow is the start of a new year, I’m hoping that Burger King will realize the error of their way and will drop this whole Whopper Virgin campaign. In the spirit of change and new beginnings, I’m willing to still honor our old agreement – as long as Burger King promises that the next time they send a camera crew to a remote village uncorrupted by modern society, it will be to scare the shit out of the unsuspecting townspeople with their creepy mascot.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.