Burger King’s Moldy Whopper; Climate Change Conflict at Amazon: Wednesday’s First Things First

Plus, Norm Peterson returns for an episode of Cheers—er, Domino's

A Whopper is covered in mold in a new Burger King ad
Burger King highlights "the beauty of no artificial preservatives" in its Moldy Whopper campaign. Burger King
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Why Burger King Is Proudly Advertising a Moldy, Disgusting Whopper

Burger King unveiled a striking global ad campaign intended to highlight the fast-food brand’s commitment to dropping all artificial preservatives. Some campaigns in this vein come and go without generating much interest, but this one tests just how far Burger King can take its audiences down the “bold marketing” path before losing the path entirely. “The Moldy Whopper” campaign, created through a partnership between agencies Ingo and David (both part of the Ogilvy family), features intriguingly high-resolution photography and video of a Whopper being consumed—not by humans, but by mold.

Read more: Learn why the brand chose a rotting burger for this memorable campaign.

Talking Black History and Diversity on the Adweek Podcast

In a special Black History Month-themed episode of Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad, senior editor Nicole Ortiz hosted and spoke with five industry executives about op-eds they’ve written for us in the past around Black History Month and how to further the diversity conversation. She was joined by Quiet Storm founder Trevor Robinson to talk about his rundown of racism in the advertising industry; marketer and author Frederick Joseph, who wrote about how to make diversity efforts more inclusive; associate professor Monique Bell, who wrote about how diversity needs to begin in the classroom for marketers; and Adrianne C. Smith, the first global director of inclusion and diversity, and Judy Jackson, the first global head of culture, both at WPP, who wrote about how to deliver authentic work for black consumers.

Tune in: Listen to this special Black History Month episode of the Adweek podcast.

  • The purchasing habits of the African-American community adds up to at least $1.3 trillion annually, and that number is expected to rise to $1.54 trillion by 2022. Corean Canty, chief operating officer of Goodway Group, posits that businesses need to embrace African-American influencers to resonate with this audience and increase engagement with consumers that drive the purchase decisions.

How Domino’s Digitally Blended Itself With Cheers for Its New Ad

In the latest ad for Domino’s, Norm Peterson from the iconic TV series Cheers finds himself struggling with anonymity when he goes to pick up a pizza. The ad, which was created by CPB and features the familiar Cheers character, set and music, was brought to life through several production partnerships, including with New York visual effects house Artjail. The team watched all 275 episodes of Cheers to find the perfect footage of Norm entering and approaching the bar. But then he had to be isolated from the footage and melded with a body double to pull off the effect of him ordering a pizza at a Domino’s counter.

Read more: Watch the ad, and see the exclusive behind-the-scenes video that shows how they pulled it off.

Jeff Bezos Will Donate $10 Billion to Tackle Climate Change, but Critics Want Change at Amazon

Jeff Bezos took to his personal Instagram account on Monday to announce the launch of the Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion global initiative to undertake the existential threat of climate change. The CEO’s preoccupation with Earth—versus the level of self-interest he has in Amazon’s profitability—has been a hot topic among environmental activists and even his own employees, 4,500 of whom published a piece last April calling on Bezos to address climate change at the company. And the announcement comes after Bezos came under fire from critics for being “stingy” when he only donated $690,000 to Australian wildfire relief in January. In 2018, Amazon disclosed that its total carbon footprint was 44.4 million metric tons, making the ecommerce mammoth one of the worst polluters in the United States.

Read more: The company is often criticized by consumers for its tendency to over-package and produce more waste.

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insights

Ad of the Day: Lego Turned Kids’ Ideas Into a Blockbuster Movie Trailer

Lego’s newest ad, designed for vertical formats like Instagram, is a blockbuster movie trailer made up entirely of ideas proposed by kids while playing with a Lego City Police set.

For Black History Month, Agencies Share How Leadership Can Ensure That the Voices of Black Colleagues Are Heard and Elevated

“The state of our society today implores us to be more aware of and open to diverse voices. Leading with our core values of inclusivity, authenticity, responsibility, and humility, we regularly express our desire to learn more about our employees as individuals. We do this through anonymous surveys inviting feedback on company culture, cross-departmental communications, and more. … We want to accommodate diverse communication styles by providing various ways for people to voice their opinions. We also seek out diverse voices to influence the content we create, whether that be our weekly employee newsletter, blog posts, social posts, and more.

We have also established a diversity and inclusion committee, which aims to accomplish three goals: identify the kind of diversity and inclusion training needed for our employees, incorporate diversity and inclusion strategy into our hiring practices, and extend diversity and inclusion best practices into our service offerings for our clients. We believe that our employees all have something valuable to contribute because of the richness of our differences.”

—Kamron Hack, director of people and culture, Firewood

“In order to amplify Black voices we believe you need to hire Black men and women, focus on inclusion and belonging, educate your teams on stereotypes and commit to casting talent in your work that represents all people of color appropriately and without cultural appropriation.”

—Heidi Taglio, head of talent, Eleven

@JessZafarris jessica.zafarris@adweek.com Jess Zafarris is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.