As a straight ally and a theatre major, I like to patronize any and all establishments that support Pride. I buy the rainbow bagels (to the delight of my child), treasure my June Playbills from an NYC trip, and understand the very real and legitimate criticism of the performative “rainbowing” of consumer businesses during one month each year.
Burger King has made some interesting choices this year, however. In the United States, the chain is wrapping its burgers in rainbow paper that says “WE ARE ALL THE SAME INSIDE,” a pretty standard and low-key nod to Pride. However, my favorite TikTok news reporter, Under The Desk News, alerted me to the fact that Burger King is making a choice over in Austria that has the internet abuzz with confusion and delighted mockery.
Under The Desk News tells me all the news that’s fit to cower under a desk and tolerate and has reported that Burger King Austria is letting you “have it your way” this year by serving burgers with either two top buns or two bottom buns. Your choice.
The intention is apparently to represent “two equal buns for equal love and equal rights.” The message of love, empathy, individuality, and freedom is one that gels with the overall ethos of a fast food chain built upon the catchphrase centered on choice. But expressing this via the burger’s buns has left many people confused.
Out asks the important questions about these “same-sex buns.”
“Are the two top buns the lesbians?” writes Mey Rude. “Are the two bottom buns gay men? Or is it the other way around? Does that mean the regular Whoppers for bisexuals?” She’s joking, but also, yeah, what exactly is the deal here?
No matter the intention, the move was confusing, and maybe on purpose. It certainly made headlines, which had to be the marketing team’s intention. It is hard to break through the rainbow cacophony this time of year, and Burger King, baby, you did it!
I have to say, while the two tops make for a more delicious bread combo (the top bun is more pillowy), won’t the burger just fall over thanks to the rounded top on both sides? I’m not particularly excited to try either combination, personally, but, hey, like I said, I’m hetero (as much as I wish I weren’t, after my last foray into the dating pool).
The internet, of course, didn’t see the move as a nod to same-sex couples. They thought Burger King was attempting to reference a very different connotation of “top” and “bottom.” The main joke that’s been circulating online about the ad campaign is basically some iteration of, “Hey, Burger King, that’s not how that works…”
And while it is humorous to imagine taking the family to Burger King, ordering up a Whopper, and having to specify whether you’re a top or a bottom, we know—or at least, we think we know—that was not BK’s intention. So the question left by this puzzling marketing campaign is this: Is it better for a fast food chain to be forgotten in a sea of rainbow marketing or mocked for its utter inability to predict a good sex joke?