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Company: Burger King Corp.
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Burger King
Ad Title: Wake Up With the King
Business Category: Restaurants
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
Year: 2004
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Ronald Sproul
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Theme(s)

Same-Sex Affection

Homo-queasy

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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A man is sleeping soundly on a summer morning as someone mows the grass outside.

As the man wakes, he realizes someone is in bed with him. He jumps up to find a man in a "king" outfit with robes sitting there watching him. The king mask (complete with Burger King crown) is oversized and Mardis Gras-like, frozen in a smile. The creepy man/king says nothing, but turns and offers him a Double Croissan'wich, which the man immediately takes and eats.

The man/king then puts his hand on the guy's knee, the man adds his hand -- then both pull away awkwardly. They both start laughing.

In another cut of the commercial, they both start laughing and the man/king then puts his hand on the guy's back instead.

The tagline: "Wake up with the King."

This odd ad was called "bizarre" and "weird" by Adweek and recalls a 2000 British campaign for the financial services firm Egg, in which a man stalks another man. The ad would not be included in the Commercial Closet collection, were it not for the needless hand on the knee/back moments intended to invoke sexual discomfort.

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Dean Morris , New York, NY
This is undeniably offbeat. The Mardi Gras-style king character borders on the creepy and, to my gay taste for bears, it's also sexy. The awkward separation as sexual tension can be taken as forbidden delight. Commercial Closet's blurb at the end of the description almost dovetails with the homophobic opinions it tries to anticipate and diffuse!

Cheryl , Hollywood, FL
The ad is a bit on the negative side. However, I am pleased to see that Burger King is trying to win over a new generation of consumers. This is important for a company based near one of the "alternative lifestyle" hotspots of the US, Miami's South Beach.

Bobby , Detroit, MI
This ad is bizarre and weird. "Bizarre" and "weird" are good. I work in advertising and they rarely let me do anything that can be described with those words. Besides, I like the Burger King makeover. It's much better than the McDonalds,"I'm lovin' it" campaign. Is it Homophobic? I don't know, he smiles at the end. And by the way, I wouldn't mind waking up with the King. It's better than waking up alone.

Jay Charles Johnson , La Crescenta, CA
Perhaps I am being overly sensitive, but showing a guy waking up and finding another man in his bed would seem, by itself, to have gay overtones to it. That being said, the commercial seemed designed to grab the viewer's attention by presenting a scenario many straight men would find disturbing. It succeeded on that level, but I don't see how playing into homophobia was expected to increase the chain's breakfast business.

Anthony , Spokane, WA
I think it's bad enough that we, GLBT people, have to sometimes endure denigration from others, within our own community, about who we sleep with, but did the advertisers really have to bring the time-worn cliche of royal deviancy into the mix? I don't think so! This ad also poses the controversial question of sexual ambiguity amongst lower-middle class society.

Rich , Pittsburgh, PA
These new Burger King commercials are the best commercials I've seen in a long time, especially the one where the king is playing football. I really don't like the food much at BK, but the commercials are good.

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