Burger King Mexico Pokes Fun at US Tourists With a Spicy Burger That’s ‘Only for Mexicans’

The chain hopes it will be seen as 'self-deprecating and funny'

two people crying, one wiping her eyes with a napkin
Customers from the U.S. visiting Burger King in Cancun weren't ready for the Mango Habanero Burger.
We Believers

American tourists in Cancun are rarely the most subtle visitors—though, admittedly, the local tourism economy does thrive off the crowd’s boisterous excess.

Since such tourists can be easy to spot and are often somewhat vocal in their opinions, Burger King Mexico decided to let them try its newest menu item—the brand’s spiciest burger yet—and see how they reacted.

The footage assembled by agency We Believers—which, the agency assures us, is all 100% real—show Americans struggling to eat the Mango Habanero King, with some getting flat-out furious about how inedible it is. Meanwhile, the locals are pretty much unfazed.

“It’s not staged at all. All real people,” said Gustavo Lauria, co-founder and CCO of We Believers. “Some of them couldn’t even talk when we stopped them outside of the restaurant to ask them what they think about the burger.”

Just to make sure the point is driven home, the campaign is officially called “Only for Mexicans.”

Given the generally high level of political tension around U.S.-Mexico relations under President Donald Trump, this campaign is likely to elicit some strong reactions from some on the American side of the border. In addition to the usual arguments of “What if the roles were reversed?” there’s also the obvious fact that many Americans enjoy super spicy food.

Burger King isn’t too concerned about the potential for backlash to the campaign, though, which is only running in Mexico.

“I think most people will get that the execution is just a tongue-in-cheek way of landing a product truth,” Burger King global CMO Fernando Machado told Adweek. “As a result of their local cuisine, most Mexicans tend to have a higher tolerance to chili than other nationalities. I’ve lived in Mexico myself, so I can testify to that from firsthand experience of suffering with habanero peppers. Our brand is American, so to launch the Habanero King, we did something that is self-deprecating and funny. And I think people will take it that way.”

Not too many marketers have used humor to wade into the occasionally volatile discussion around Mexico and America. Airline Aeroméxico’s “DNA Discounts” campaign from agency Ogilvy found U.S. residents who didn’t have much nice to say about Mexico, then used DNA tests to reveal the Americans were part Mexican.

Even among the global pantheon of agencies doing eye-catching work for Burger King these days, We Believers has stood out with some of the chain’s more odd or ambitious ideas.

The agency’s “Traffic Jam Whopper” concept, recently honored with the top prize in Adweek’s Project Isaac awards, used a combination of mobile tech and digital outdoor to deliver Whoppers to drivers stuck in Mexico City’s notorious gridlock.

Most recently, We Believers created a series of print ads featuring Burger King customers who fell asleep at their tables, with the tagline “They’re that big,” conveying that eating from the King’s Collection menu could put you into a “food coma.”

CREDITS:
Títle (ENG): “Only for Mexicans”
Brand/Client: Burger King Mexico
Product/Service: Mango Habanero King
On Air Date: 10/4
Length: 1:46

AGENCY
Agency: We Believers.
City / Country: New York / USA.
Chief Creative Officer: Gustavo Lauria
Executive Creative Director: Patricio Elfi
Creative Director: Fernando Serra, Nicolas Centroni
Copywriter: Gustavo Lauria, José Quijano
Head of Production: Marcia Jaes
Head of Client Service: José Quijano
Account Supervisor: Juan Cano
Creative Coordinator: Rocio Fernandez Sasso, Lupita Alvarez

PRODUCTION COMPANY:
Production Company: Bonsai3
Director: Flavio Dumaine
Director of Photography: Nicolas Hardy
Executive producer: Alvaro Krupkin
Producer: Majo Cisnseros

EDITORIAL/POST PRODUCTION/ SOUND:
Editor: Diego Panich
Music House – Music Publisher: Pickle Music
Composer: Alexis Estiz
Sound Design and Mix: Dario Calequi
Music House Producer: María Ines Velez
Postproduction/ VFX: Bonsai3/ Flavio Dumaine

CLIENT:
Responsible: Fernando Machado, Marcelo Pascoa, Alexandre Antonello, Pedro Barbosa, Miguel Angel Amezquita Sandoval.

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