ATLANTA The Humane Society of the United States is asking Burger King to pull its new campaign featuring a fight between two chickens, claiming the advertising "makes light of the barbaric and widespread practice of cockfighting."
The HSUS sent a letter to Burger King's chief executive, Greg Brenneman, on Oct. 20, asking the company to remove the ads from television and issue a public statement condemning cockfighting, which is illegal in 48 states.
Discussions are continuing between Burger King and HSUS, but the company has no plans to pull the ads, said Steve DeSutter, senior vice president of corporate communications for the company. The company, however, is willing to condemn cockfighting, he said.
"We are not overtly or inadvertently promoting cockfighting," DeSutter said. "It's just wrong and should be outlawed in all 50 states."
The ad is the latest creation of MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, which is known for its edgy creative. The campaign features two men in chicken suits, each representing a different chicken sandwich available at Burger King, preparing for a Nov. 5 fight for the Chicken Sandwich World Championship, which will air on pay-per-view television.
If Burger King does not pull the ads, the HSUS will ask its more than 8 million members and constituents to organize a letter-writing campaign to the company demanding that the ads be removed, said Nicholas Braden, vice president of communications for HSUS.
"It's inappropriate to imitate animal abuse to sell sandwiches," Braden said. "It glorifies a barbaric and illegal activity."
Although the HSUS has not contacted CP+B about the ads, the organization puts part of the blame on the agency.
"The ad agency needs to do its research before it proposes a commercial like this," Braden said.
CP+B did not return calls about the campaign.