Burger King's wrestler upsets Mexicans
Wednesday 15 April 2009
The power of a fast-food chain to clog a nation's arteries and fill its cities with hideous drive-thru stores is not in doubt. But Burger King might have just gone a step too far – by poking fun at the proud nation of Mexico.
In what headline-writers have dubbed "a whopper of an insult", the Florida-based firm has stoked diplomatic tensions between the US and its neighbour by launching a TV ad that plays on a "stereotyped" image of Hispanics.
The commercial, for BK's "Texican" burger, shows a short, squat wrestler in a poncho resembling the Mexican flag. He teams up with an American cowboy, twice his height, to illustrate that the sandwich contains "the taste of Texas with a little spicy Mexican".
It caused outrage for two reasons. Firstly, the ad suggests Mexicans are shorter, uglier, and accustomed to looking up at alpha males from north of their border. Secondly, it contains a disrespectful use of the national flag.
Jorge Zermeno, the Mexican ambassador to Spain, where the ad first aired, wrote a formal complaint to Burger King, asking for the ad to be removed.
"[They] improperly use the stereotyped image of a Mexican," he told Madrid's Radio Formula station this week. "We have to tell these people that in Mexico we have a great deal of respect for our flag."
Mexico has strict rules governing the use of its flag. Last year, it fined the publisher Random House over an ad for one of Paulo Coelho's books that revolved around a man using a flag as a cape.
The controversy was brought to the attention of America's large Hispanic community by the Associated Press yesterday, prompting a rash of reports that can only damage Burger King's standing in the crucial demographic.
It has also come at a bad time for cross-border relations, which are strained because of America's role in buying the drugs and selling the firearms that are fuelling the "drug war" that has killed 7,000 Mexicans in the past year.
Burger King has yet to comment on the ad but it might have been expected to know better: in the 1990s, the rival fast-food firm Taco Bell caused a huge row by airing a commercial that featured a tiny talking Chihuahua who spoke with a Mexican accent.
- 1 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 2 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 3 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 4 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 5 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...
£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...