How ‘Whopper Neutrality’ Became the Perfect Combination of Entertainment and Education

David's ECDs tell the story behind Burger King's most shared ad

The creative team behind Whopper Neutrality say it began as an attempt to educate themselves, then America. Burger King
Headshot of David Griner

CANNES, France—Manboobs changed everything.

For years, rising creative stars Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Peña Plaza had been focused on creating great work, but that didn’t always go hand in hand with having a good time.

Then the David Miami creatives, now executive creative directors, created “Manboobs,” a widely lauded breast cancer PSA that sidestepped social media restrictions against bare breasts by demonstrating self-exam techniques on a hefty man’s pecs. The success of the lighthearted but lifesaving campaign showed the two that important messages can still be entertaining.

“We are trying to have fun,” Casal told Adweek at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week. “We were taking this whole career super serious for years. Then we did ‘Manboobs,’ and our careers changed. If people are not having fun in this career, it makes no sense. There’s so much sacrifice in this career, that if you’re not having fun every now and then, then I don’t think it’s worth it.”

Whopper Neutrality, which Burger King has described as its most shared ad of all time, was one of the biggest results of this realization. The stunt, which restricted customers’ access to Whoppers based on how much they were willing to pay, was a scathing parallel for how the end of net neutrality could create fast and slow lanes for internet access.

Adweek sat down with the creatives in Cannes to hear the story behind the viral hit:

Combining humor and culturally relevant information doesn’t just make an ad more entertaining—it also makes it work, says Peña Plaza.

“I think it makes you more effective,” he says. “Yes, we’re building the humor in the piece and getting those reactions. … That makes it more engaging and it makes it more effective, because if people are laughing and learning at the same time about net neutrality or something important, then they’re more likely to share it and it makes the ad more effective.”

Here’s a look back at the Whopper Neutrality campaign:

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."