Burger King Deviously Explains Net Neutrality by Making People Wait Longer for Whoppers

Would you pay more to keep the fast in fast food?

david miami whopper neutrality campaign burger king
The creative team behind David Miami's "Whopper Neutrality" campaign for Burger King have moved to Gut. Burger King
Headshot of Tim Nudd

On the heels of its brilliant anti-bullying spot last year, Burger King has found another cause it can get behind, and promote with a clever in-store stunt—net neutrality.

Net neutrality is a complicated topic to explain, which is where Burger King came in with a meaty metaphor. It set up a social experiment at a BK location—with a hidden-camera setup not unlike that of the anti-bullying spot—and taught Whopper buyers a memorable lesson. In the video below, see how real customers reacted to being charged more for the same quick-serve Whopper—or, for the regular price, having to wait longer for a Whopper as BK employees intentionally, and seemingly pointlessly, slow down their service.

In December, you’ll recall, the FCC repealed net neutrality rules that regulated businesses that provide internet access to consumers—opening the door for broadband providers to potentially charge more for better internet speed or higher-quality service.

David Miami, the agency behind so many clever BK campaigns in recent years, made the new spot. It’s very different than the “Bullying Jr.” PSA, but in some ways works similarly.

In place of the more emotional and poignant ending of that earlier spot, here we get a more plainly hostile vibe from the patrons—which fits the issue at hand better. If you were served a mashed-up burger, you’d be mostly confused; if you’re openly denied good service, you’d probably get annoyed pretty quickly.

There’s plenty of cursing in between the baffled looks; a few patrons even make a move to snatch their Whopper away from the BK employees. There’s a dose of “Whopper Freakout” in here, and you get the sense that the stunt could easily have turned violent—thankfully, it didn’t.

The pricing board that they showed customers is great, too—with MBPS, referring to megabits per second in webspeak, changed to mean “making burgers per second.”

While not quite as inspired as “Bullying Jr.,” the “Whopper Neutrality” stunt is amusing to watch and certainly puts the issue in the plainest, most relatable terms. And once again, it’s right on brand for the “Have it your way” marketer.

“We believe the internet should be like Burger King restaurants, a place that doesn’t prioritize and welcomes everyone,” says Fernando Machado, Burger King’s global chief marketing officer. “That is why we created this experiment, to call attention to the potential effects of net neutrality.”

Client: Burger King
Agency: David
Spot: Whopper Neutrality
CCO & Founder: Anselmo Ramos
Managing Director, Head of Account Services: Paulo Fogaça
Creative Director: Tony Kalathara
ACD: Ricardo Casal
ACD: Juan Javier Peña Plaza
Senior Art Director: Jean Zamprogno
Senior Copywriter: Fernando Pellizzaro
Head of Global Production: Veronica Beach
Producer: Carlos Torres Sr.
Business Affairs Manager: Barbara Karalis
Director of Strategy: Jon Carlaw
Senior Planner: Matias Candia
Senior Account Director: Carmen Rodriguez
Account Supervisor: Diandra Garcia
Account Supervisor: Jenny Gobel
Production Company: Here Be Dragons
Director: Kris Belman
Executive Producer: David Richards
Head of Production: Mamta Trivedi
Producer: Peter Slowey
Editing: Cosmo Street
Editorial Executive Producer: Yvette Cobarrubias-­Sears
Editor: Hugo Jordan
Post Producer: Idalia Deshon
Final Audio: Beacon Street Studios
Executive Producer: Adrea Lavezzoli
Mix and Sound Design
Producer: Kate Vadnais
Mixer: Amber Tisue
Online: Cosmo Street
Editorial Executive Producer: Yvette Cobarrubias-­Sears
Flame Artist: Shinya Sato
Color: The Mill
Executive Producer: Thatcher Peterson
Producer: Diane Valera
Colorist: Matt Osborne
Graphics Animation: Lava Studio
Executive Producer: Jennifer Eirea
Creative Director: David Woodward
Designer/Animator: Carlos Velasquez

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.