It’s been almost three weeks since the Super Bowl, and we’re still talking about whether Burger King’s ad worked despite the fact that most viewers didn’t seem to know who Andy Warhol is, was, or will be. There’s some obvious retort about his “famous for 15 minutes” quote in there somewhere, but we didn’t quite have the energy.
How did Warhol fans feel about it, though?
Shinyee Seet, an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness (portfolio here), wasn’t quite swayed. And she likes the pop artist so much that she named her bunnies Andy and Warhol.
“I made eye contact with Andy Warhol one day as I was walking down Broadway in Times Square,” she wrote. “I don’t know about you, but I wanted to ask him what he was doing on the billboard ad for Burger King’s latest Super Bowl campaign. I also raised my eyebrow when I saw the TV commercial.”
She wasn’t the only one, though it seems some were drawn to the very image of a 40-year-old sandwich.
Haven’t had @BurgerKing in many years. However, finding it difficult to not heed this call to action #eatlikeandy @TheCMOclub 🍔👀 pic.twitter.com/rcLi9gbXrp
— Andy Malavsky (@AndyMalavsky) February 18, 2019
In response, Seet and her partner/director Justin Leyba of Johannes Leonardo (portfolio here) created an alternate version of #EatLikeAndy.
See, in this plot twist, the King was simply pretending to be Andy with a little help from those prop wigs Burger King sent to all the poor trade journalists like ourselves.
We asked Seet about the inspiration behind this shorty.
“First, I thought the ad was very off-brand for Burger King, and it left a lot of people with question marks,” she wrote. “The audience, especially millennials, didn’t catch the reference and couldn’t relate to the ad.”
True and true.
“Second, as we know, David Miami got the rights to use the original footage ‘Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger’ that was directed by Jorgen Leth for their Super Bowl 2019 spot,” she continued. “However, not everyone knows about Warhol’s story as an immigrant, much less Leth’s intent to convey the idea of hamburger ‘as the great social equalizer in America,'” as noted by AdAge.
“It was heavy content for a 45-second ad with no script or given context,” Seet wrote.
Everyone—especially those who work in advertising—is now familiar with BK’s signature quirk. So Seet and Leyba thought, “Why not create a plot twist to reveal that it was actually the King all along that disguised himself as Warhol to make it lighthearted and to keep Burger King quirky and weird again?”
This is all a little more interesting if you happen to be an art school graduate, student of documentaries, or a fan of America in the early ’80s. Leth’s film was a simple series of cinematic postcards that don’t have any real narrative structure or relation to one another beyond sharing the common setting of his road trip across the U.S.
Here is the full film. Warhol’s section starts at 17:50 and repeats two more times throughout, which is an unusual choice on the director’s part.
It’s the kind of movie no one would have any patience for today. So of course Warhol wanted to participate.