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The King and Krusty Slug It Out

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NEW YORK In one of the new ads from MDC's Crispin Porter + Bogusky that cross-promotes Burger King and The Simpsons Movie, the character of the King gets into a donnybrook with Krusty the Clown. In the end the King triumphs and the Burger King logo is shown. But the logo almost didn't make it into the spot.

As originally conceived, the spot was just going to be an anti-Whopper commercial from Krusty the Clown. "It's his [Krusty's] way of trying to negatively say, 'Don't buy a Whopper,' but they're all reasons you would buy one," said Rob Reilly, vp, cd at Crispin in Miami.

"There was a little worry that we wouldn't get credit for this without the Burger King logo," he said. Ultimately, Gracie Films, the animators of the television show as well as this spot, added the logo without being asked to and everyone liked the results, said Reilly.

In the spot, Krusty, everyone's favorite dissolute TV clown, tries to discourage viewers from eating a Whopper in favor of his deep-fried Krusty Burger. The clown makes a direct appeal by noting that not only is he behind on his alimony payments but also has been reduced to wearing paper bags for shoes. When the King character arrives and offers Krusty a Whopper, Krusty punches the King in the face. The King, after falling down, rises and proceeds to knock out Krusty.

There are a total of four TV spots (all animated by Gracie Films), two radio commercials, in-store promotions and Web banners, and the work drives traffic to the Web site simpsonizeme.com. After uploading their image, users can then use the online store to buy their Simpsons image on T-shirts, mugs, hats and aprons.

By doing so, Crispin continues its push to get consumers to pay for what are essentially advertisements, which it accomplished with its trio of Xbox 360 video games for Burger King last year. The games won a Titanium Lion at this year's Cannes.

"How do we get a little more ingrained other than sponsoring the movie?" asked Reilly. "By getting the Simpsons characters to acknowledge Burger King."

Reilly knew that having a Burger King character, even if animated and interacting with the over-the-top world of the Simpsons, punch another character was going to be controversial. "The marketing team projected that Krusty would be the one that would be the most talked about," he said.