Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Where's the Beef?

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Where's the Beef?

Article excerpt

The new slogan "Be your way" was part of a Burger King Proud Whopper project. Is it actually what the company believes, or is this corporate lip service?

This summer Burger King premiered the "Proud Whopper" in celebration of Pride, and the project was publicized nationwide in press releases, in videos on Burger King's YouTube page, and in interviews in mainstream media with the company's marketing executives. Proceeds of that burger's sales were donated to an LGBT college scholarship fund. Pretty cool, right? Alas, the burger was available only at one location in San Francisco, the promotion ran only until July 3 (the press release The Advocate received was dated July 2), and while the company has supported LGBT events in some cities before, it appears to lack any substantial commitment to LGBT equality. It still maintains a low HRC Corporate Equality Index rating of 55 (out of 100), does not offer trans-inclusive health care benefits to its employees, and has no upper-level LGBT corporate programming.

In an interview with USA Today, Fernando Machado, senior VP of global brand management, said that the burger "showcases who we are as a brand. It shows how we, as a brand, believe in self-expression."

Is one burger, available at one location, a valid showcase? Many customers reported that when they asked what the burger actually was, employees couldn't explain it. One customer asked in video footage captured by the company's Web site, "Do gay people even eat fast food? …

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