Mary J. Blige Taking a Hit From Burger King Chicken Ad

We talked about the problems with Burger King’s marketing strategy yesterday, and how those problems are impacting the third-place burger chain. But, it’s not just BK that’s having trouble. Mary J. Blige, the award-winning singer who, for some unfathomable reason thought it would be a good idea to sing about chicken wraps in one of the company’s latest ads, has also hit a sour note.

After appearing online for just a few days, the MJB ad has been pulled, though it’s now available on many sites (including this one, after the jump). BK says it’s so it can resolve some licensing issues but, of course, many suspect it has more to do with the backlash. Many fans have taken to social media to express their disbelief that someone of Blige’s stature would sing so seriously about a BK snack wrap.

The biggest criticism has come from Madame Noire, which posted this open letter, writing in part: “…[N]othing could have prepared me for the utter buffoonery I saw in that commercial. Why Mary, why?”

The letter continues painfully:

This is so beneath you. This harmonizing about chicken is a move I would associate with someone whose glory days were far behind them. You still have so much more to contribute to the arts and entertainment game that there was no reason for you to stoop to stereotypes. And I know what you’re thinking, everybody across the world loves chicken. It’s true, most people get down with the poultry; but as a black woman, singing passionately about chicken is not the move!

Just yesterday, we posted a Q&A with Cathy Guetta, co-founder of My Love Affair, talking about pairing musical artists with brands. Guetta noted, when asked about whether there are lines that brands or artists shouldn’t cross, “There is no particular line not to cross, but all deals have got to put both the brand and the artist in a win-win situation, where both of their objectives can be achieved.”

Things must mesh, they have to make sense, and they have to avoid crass tackiness at all costs. That’s where this combination failed. BK’s VP of North American marketing Alex Macedo told the site EurWeb that they were looking for attention-grabbing celebs that would showcase the brand’s embrace of diversity. Instead, they showed how tone deaf BK is. And MJB, for some reason, went along with it.