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Has anyone else seen this commercial? It is heartbreaking. Burger King goes to a small thai village and makes them taste hamburgers. The voice over talks about how this culture doesnt even have a word for hamburger in their language in an amazed voice. This is the problem with our food culture on the US. The majority of the population thinks you are missing out if you dont eat Whoppers!

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  1. I have seen it - really stupid. One can only hope the get enough flak for it to finally pull it!

    And you might want to fix your subject line - there is no website with that address - add an "S" to the name.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      I assume the Whopper wins, but against what competition?

      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        What else? Mickey D's Big Mac.



        "To find out about America's favorite burger, we had to leave America," proclaims the site, which this weekend will premiere a documentary depicting the world's "Whopper Virgins," who apparently include Thai villagers and Transylvanian farmers, taking their first-ever bite of burger.

    2. Hey, us folks in the "real" America demand fair play. Where is the Thai ad for "dog eating virgins.com" ? Adam

      2 Replies
      1. re: adamshoe

        I don't think dog is considered a food item in Thai cuisine...

        1. re: bulavinaka

          during my 1st trip to thailand in '87 in villages in the northeast we were told "white dog is #1 dog." they were not talking about racing......

      2. Maybe we're the virgins. What do you suppose would happen if someone brought a kow sai or a green papaya salad or pad se yew to a little town in Arkansas? Imagine how amazed the voiceover would be about the reaction of the poor ignorant natives and what they were missing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chicgail

          I agree. And this American loves green papaya salad! It's a diplorable commercial.

        2. It's not heartbreaking... the Thais are probably laughing at us!.

          Chiang Mai must be the #2 place to visit for international travelers to Thailand - unless they are heading straight to the southern beaches. It's chock full of eateries catering to foreign travelers... Spanish, French, Med, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Italian, German, American, Brit, Japanese, etc. and several burger serving places. It's mostly nothing great given their attention to the budget crowd, but pretty damn diverse given the region's location and size.

          I did a big trip trekking through to the various hilltribes in very remote areas. They all had Coca Cola... but not Whoppers. They weren't ignorant of burgers. It's simply kind of hard to source or deliver fresh buns, ground beef, lettuce, pickles, potatos, American cheese, etc in a remote area of Southeast Asia.

          4 Replies
          1. re: tastyjon

            Consider that the Thais are not ignorant of burgers; they just don't especially want them.

            1. re: chicgail

              What makes you think Thais don't want burgers? MacDonald's big in many Asian countries. I'm sure BK didn't jam burgers down people's throat involuntarily. They probably all volunteered to eat BK and Mickey D burgers and were compensated on top of that. Has the Thai government raised any sort of fuss over this?

              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                I'm hardly an expert, but I haven't seen any fuss about burgers in Thailand -- McD or BK -- but I would figure that if hamburgers were in demand in Thailand, you'd see them being sold in some of those ubiquitous food carts that line the streets of Bangkok, Chaing Mai and other cities in Thailand.

                1. re: chicgail

                  They've got burgers, mostly in the places catering to Westerners. Heck, Chiang Mai is a big desitnation for tourists, with little eateries offering grub from every major country/region. But Thailand isn't really cattle country. In fact I can only recall seeing one cow anywhere... but plenty of water buffalo, who don't mind standing in muddy rice fields as much. So if one wants to open a Burker King in northern Thailand, it'll cost a fortune, logistically, to keep it supplied.

                  It's all rather silly and absurd, and the Thais are probably laughing more at us. It's like going to Nepal and seeing if they prefer Red Lobster over Joe's Crab Shack.

          2. Karma always pays back sooner or later.

            1. You can have the burgers, I'll take the Pad Sie Euw, thank you!

              1. Even *if* it was actually real and not staged (doubt it), I actually found it amusing. And really, who cares? It's not like they were being held at gunpoint forced to taste toxic waste.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jgg13

                  "forced to taste toxic waste"

                  Uhhhh... but BK is pretty darn close no?

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Speaking as someone that typically enjoys fast food, that latest "creation" of theirs with the faux mashed potatoes on top was uhhhh bad. Still, that wasn't a whopper I guess. I don't know what they've done, but their stuff has gotten really grody in the last few years.

                  2. re: jgg13

                    And everybody in that commecial is laughing all the way to the bank

                  3. How did they "make" them taste it?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: c oliver

                      They gave them each a pair of jeans, made in China of course.

                    2. I am amazed that no one in this thread seems to understand what the purpose of this ad campaign actually is. The rampant foodie paranoia on this site is bordering on the ridiculous here; Burger King isn't attempting to provide mass produced, low quality burgers to remote, third-world villagers. The point is simply to provide a relatively unbiased opinion of two competing products.

                      Let's face it, anyone in America has been bombarded with years of advertising for both McD's and BK, and has probably had more than enough encounters with their offerings to determine a preference. But by highlighting those who have never tried either, it can provide as objective a result as a subjective competition can be- one judged solely by taste, not billions of marketing dollars in our collective subconscious.

                      Imagine if Norway or Japan had 2 major fast-food whale joints- McWhaley's and the Whale King. We as Americans would be completely sheltered from marketing campaigns, and thus unbiased in our judgments of which place offered the best whale. If we were subjected to a blind taste test (which no one should be foolish enough to believe was 'forced' in any way), we would choose based on the tenderness and flavor of the whale nuggets or openfaced whale sandwiches, and on those criteria alone.
                      To me, the message that this sends is that Burger King feels that its products are superior, but are outsold only because McDonald's can afford to swamp the media with advertisements.

                      To be honest, I think the ads are pretty dumb also, and I don't really care about Burger King or what these Nepalese farmers or whatever they are think about our fast food status. I just get annoyed when people immediately jump all over the campaign as being reflective of some critical flaw in our society, or some hegemonious attitude of Americans to the rest of the world. I'm not saying that doesn't exist, but that is not what this commercial is about. Not even close.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: tcavanau

                        I'm not saying that doesn't exist, but that is not what this commercial is about. Not even close.
                        To you. I'm still saying they're continuing to push their crap food on people - whether they're Americans who, for the most part, already know the difference between BK and McD's, or to some unsuspecting person elsewhere in the world who's never had their crap food. Regardless of whether you've tasted it before - it's crap food.

                        And don't you think that, given the opportunity, both companies would attempt to open in those markets and push their crap food on the unsuspecting public of that country? Burger King is located in 69 countries; McDonald's are in 107. More than half the countries in the world.

                        To me - that is a critical flaw in our society - that this fast food is often representative of what American food is all about, when we know it's not. The cost of the food is almost always more than what could be made with fresh food; and yet people still choose to purchase it - "because it's easy".

                        I will admit - when I get my salt craving - I do stop for french fries - but that's all I'll eat from fast food joints. If I'd never been introduced to the product I wouldn't have those cravings, I suspect.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          To be fair... the McD & Burger King's price points in many foreign countries are relatively higher than they are in the U.S. (not even considering the fact that $1 Menus, 2 for $2 etc., seem just about non-existent in foreign franchisees)... as a result the quality offered is distinctly & substantially higher than here in the U.S.

                          With that said... the U.S. versions of McD & BK are both about as compelling as Chef Boyardee, SPAM & Ramen in a Styrofoam Cup... i.e., just a notch above pet feces.

                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                            Foreign stores usually have region-specific menu items as well. Not all foreign franchises are significantly more expensive. When I was living in Japan, I'd say the prices were pretty comparable, complete with a 99yen menu. One big plus that I've seen to the foreign franchises is that the working conditions seem to be better. The staff at the McDonald's I frequented in Japan was pretty much the same for the two years I was there. It seems like wherever I go, McDonald's tend to be big teen hangout places because the prices are cheap compared to other options.

                            Speaking of which, cup noodle/ramen is not exactly indicative of Japanese food or even what real ramen is supposed to taste like. We're certainly not alone in marketing some of the cheaper items abroad.

                            1. re: queencru

                              I,ve had a different experience. I remember in 1990 (the last time I set foot in a McDonald's in Mexico) the Value Meals were all about $4 USD with no specials... for a comparison... you could eat a sit down lunch at Sanborn's for the same price.... or do a traditional 4-course Price Fixed adult food at a clean Fonda for less than $4. In that scenario.. McDonald's was relatively expensive but they "made up" for it by its decor (marble floors, dark wood trim etc.,) and the food quality was up to the task (locally baked bread, real beef, real cheese etc.,).

                              My most recent McD's foreign experience was at the Lima airport on our way back from Macchu Picchu a few years back.. quality was similarly excellent and the Value Meal was priced at $6USD... given that you can get a large Romaine & Avocado Salad + a mixed platter of Ceviches & a Cuzquena for that price at a locals joint... again we see the McD's abroad might not be selling at the cutthroat margins of the U.S. fast food market.

                            2. re: Eat_Nopal

                              With that said... the U.S. versions of McD & BK are both about as compelling as Chef Boyardee, SPAM & Ramen in a Styrofoam Cup... i.e., just a notch above pet feces.
                              LOL! That about says it all! :-) (although I know there are fans of Spam out there as well!)

                          2. re: tcavanau

                            So what Burger King is trying to say to Americans is that "you're so stupid you only think McDonald's tastes better because they advertise more because we clearly have the better product when people of a different culture who appreciate different tastes and flavors prefer our product?" Clever idea to insult your market. I saw the commercial yesterday and thought it was funny when they talked about cultures that don't have a word for burger. The rest of the world doesn't have a word for burger, they just use "burger."

                            1. re: tcavanau

                              we get it.

                              it's not worth paying attention to their message. they don't get their offensiveness.

                            2. I'm surprised anyone thinks this is a "real" commercial. Didn't any of you see Wag the Dog? I bet they're all actors.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                Oh clearly they are. In my original response I even noted that

                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                  That's what I thought.

                                  I also can't understand why people think this is some sort of heinous act on BK's part. If someone came up to you asked you to sample a product you'd never heard of and it's competitor, wouldn't you do it??


                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                    The Wall Street Journal has an article about the campaign: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12283...
                                    The ad agency says no actors were used.

                                    The article also says:
                                    "A team of ad and production executives traveled to the venues, selected about 15 people from each place and took the participants to the nearest major city to conduct the taste tests. The participants were then flown back to their hometowns, where the rest of the villagers were treated to Whoppers."

                                  2. Did I miss something? I thought those ads were supposed to be a funny? You know, a take off, send up, etc. Are we supposed to take them seriously?

                                    1. FWIW, my grandparents and other relatives visited from Taiwan back in the 70's, before McDonald's was all over the world as it is now. When traveling, my parents got burgers for everyone and most of them hated it. We had to call it a "bao". Most of them hated it. Even the meat didn't taste like meat to them. LIked the french fries, though.

                                      1. The ultimate would be a taste test in the Amazon, where they are burning down the rainforest, for more grazing land. Bet they haven't tasted the burgers.

                                        1. Supposedly more people chose BK over McD. However, I would like to know how many actually liked the burgers. The taste test would be worhtless if no one liked the food, they simply thought BK was less disgusting than McD.

                                          1. "Made them taste hamburgers"? How did they make them do that? Guns, Tanks? Force them to watch Rachel Ray?

                                            It's a friggin' commercial. Get over it.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: bkhuna

                                              I kinda feel as you, but at the same time, I get pretty tired of the Ugly Tourist attitude of the general American persona...

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                and equally tired of the self effacing americans are stupid attitude of the pseudo sophisyoicated american persona

                                              2. re: bkhuna

                                                ANYTHING but Rachel Ray

                                                GOD, please no.. That would be cruel & unusual punishment

                                              3. Because a good friend was going on a tour of the "Stans" - Uzbek, Tajhik, etc - I read the CH blogs about the "Mongol Rally" from a year ago. There were descriptions of "Westburger" restaurants in the larger towns in these remote lands. The logo was a "W" which was actually the golden arches turned on their side, and although the burgers were only very rough approximations using goat or lamb, it is clear that the people there have an interest in American fast food. Maybe they wouldn't care for it if it were available, or maybe the novelty would wear off, but it's not like they'd have to be held at gunpoint before they'd try it.

                                                1. um no one put a burger king in chang mai. no on inflicted diddly on anyone. i am no huge fan of fast food chains, or the sameification they bring to the world, but that is not what is happening in these ads.

                                                  people who never tried a whopper were given a whopper and a big mac and asked which they liked better. how does doing that impinge on their lifestyle in anyway?

                                                  furthermore - i like my airplane, my refrigerator, my advanced medicine, &tc, who would i be to deny any of those "modern day ways" to anyone who does want them?

                                                  and lastly what does need have to do with anything. we all have a lot of things we do not need to survive, certainly not to survive as a species. doesn't mean we want to, or ought to give them up.

                                                  but - to reiterate the main point. No one forced a lahu tribesperson to open a BK somewhere in the golden triangle. No one asked anyone to. NO ONE OPENED A BK THERE! They asked them which burger they liked better. Would you be offended if a japanese person came to your town and asked you which brand of packaged natto you preferred?