Hearing anything described as “edgy” raises my hackles these days. In advertising or marketing it’s seen as interchangeable with “provocative,” oftentimes resulting in a sophomoric, clichéd campaign that defends its offensive nature with a shrug and “We thought it was cool, sorry.” But a recent ad from Belgian fast food chain Bicky Burger isn’t even that edgy; it’s just in a poor taste. The ad, drawn in a Pop art style, depicts a man punching a buxom woman for serving him the wrong hamburger.
Yes, it’s cartoon violence, but it’s violence all the same. The woman has fallen backwards in pain (how better to show off her ample cleavage?), while the man’s fist falls away from her face. The text bubble reads, roughly: “Seriously? A fake Bicky?” As Jonathan van Ness would say: Not cute.
The BBC reports the ad, which was posted to Facebook on Tuesday, received so many complaints it has since been removed. Bicky has also issued an apology: “We had no intention of inciting violence.” But a screengrab of a tweet from the official Bicky Burger account that contained the image also used a caption that—very roughly, using my high-school French—translates to “What other fast food shop would merit such serious punishment?” Numerous European officials quickly denounced the ad for normalizing and trivializing violence against women.
So, wait, what’s a Bicky Burger anyway? It’s a Belgian chain that serves deep-fried burgers on a sesame seed bun, topped with pickles, fried onions, ketchup, and a melange of cucumbers, cabbage, and cauliflower. The patty is a mixture of chicken, pork, and horse meat. Does it cause literally violent cravings?