BK Ad Explains Net Neutrality With a $26 Whopper

Some call the ad 'brilliant,' some say it's just another marketing ploy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2018 10:20 AM CST

If you've tried explaining net neutrality to your friends only to find their eyes glazing over, appeal to their stomachs instead. Per CNNMoney, Burger King's new "Whopper Neutrality" ad, which debuted Wednesday, illustrates the concept through the lens of Whoppers and wait times. In BK's "social experiment," customers who pay $5 for a Whopper—dubbed the "slow access Whopper pass"—are told they'll be waiting 15 to 20 minutes for their order. If they want to jump in the "fast lane" and make their Whoppers "high priority," they'll have to pony up $13 for the "fast" MBPS ("making burgers per second") or $26 for the "hyperfast" version. "The internet should be like Burger King restaurants, a place that doesn't prioritize and welcomes everyone," a BK marketing rep says in a statement explaining the ad, which comes on the heels of the FCC repeal of net neutrality protections in December.

Some call the ad "brilliant" for explaining the complex subject using fast food, but more cynical observers see it as BK capitalizing on a timely topic for its own purposes. Recode, which notes Burger King hasn't exactly been on the front lines until now lobbying for net neutrality repeal (Business Insider backs that up), calls it a "branding exercise" by a "#woke brand" that "[sees] in every social and political cause du jour an opportunity for 15 minutes of web infamy." And Engadget says the ad doesn't even explain the concept all that well (it points to its own explainer instead), though it gives the clip props for its subtle dig at FCC chief Ajit Pai: The BK King is seen at the end drinking out of a giant Reese's mug, as Pai has been known to do. Also at the end of the ad: a link to a Change.org. petition supporting net neutrality. (Montana has become the first state to protect net neutrality.)

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