Burger King Addresses Controversial 'Pride Whopper' Campaign

The advertising agency behind Burger King Austria's Pride Whopper campaign has apologized after the unique burger faced backlash online. In a Saturday apology posted to agency Jung von Matt Donau's LinkedIn page, the ad agency acknowledged that it "messed up" and did not engage with LGBTQ+ community members enough when introducing the Pride Whopper, a burger served with "two matching buns" to celebrate Pride Month.

In the weekend post, Jung von Matt Donau said, "we've heard your voices and listened carefully." The company went on to explained that the Pride Whopper "is part of our client's engagement as official partner with Vienna Pride. The work also includes an influencer campaign with proud members of the Austrian LGBTQ community." However, despite their efforts, Jung von Matt Donau, which said "are proud of our queer community within our agency," said they didn't quite get the campaign right.

"Unfortunately, we still messed up and didn't check well enough with community members on different interpretations of the Pride Whopper. That's on us. The intended message of the Pride Whopper was to spread equal love and equal rights. Our strongest concern is if we offended members of the LGBTQ Community with this campaign," the statement continued. "If this is the case, we truly apologize. We've learned our lessons and will include experts on communicating with the LGBTQ community for future work as promoting equal love and equal rights will still be a priority for us."

Introduced to Burger King locations across Austria earlier this month, the Pride Whopper features all of the same makings of the traditional Whopper, though it swaps the typical bun for two same-side buns. In an emailed statement to Ad Age, a Burger King spokesperson said the new burger was meant to "highlight equal rights and equal love-through a play on the traditional Whopper build-featuring two identical buns on the two options of the sandwich." However, many of those on social media, particularly members of the LGBTQ+ community, felt the burger completely missed the mark and was tone-deaf.

Reacting to the campaign, one person dubbed it "one of the dumbest displays of performative activism I have ever seen." Others criticized the fast-food restaurant company for not understanding "how gay sex works," with others declaring the Pride Whopper "tone deaf," "clueless," and not a "celebration of LGBTQ+," but rather a "monetization of it." At this time, the Pride Burger campaign posts remain up on Burger King Austria's social media accounts.