We sure are seeing some unusual themes in advertising in 2018. Ikea made the ad you pee on, and now Burger King is rolling out a spot set on death row.
The commercial, by agency Buzzman, is from France, a country that abolished the death penalty many decades ago. (So, perhaps they can laugh about it now?) It shows a condemned prisoner receiving his last meal from a prison guard.
Of course, it’s a Whopper with fries. But the story doesn’t end there…
Executions don’t really seem like fertile ground for humor, and the payoff here is pretty lame, truth be told. The guard voluntarily becomes the prisoner, so he can have a munch on that burger? Even if the Whopper is hard to come by—and you do have to drive forever to get one in France—that twist still seems cartoonishly dumb, even within the goofy alternate reality of the spot.
Advertising has visited death row before, of course, most notably in Oliviero Toscani’s Benetton ads from 2000 featuring portraits of actual inmates at a Missouri state prison. (Benetton later apologized for those ads, after Toscani left the company.) The BK work is obviously meant to be much more lighthearted, but is this really an issue you want to turn into a cheap gag?
Now, anyone else want to send us their ad about pee or death?