Burger King has weighed in to the net neutrality debate with an edgy video attempting to use restrictions on burger orders to illustrate criticisms of the FCC's vote to eliminate network neutrality regulations against slowing or blocking internet traffic or prioritizing delivery. In a video posted by the Fast Food franchise on YouTube and tweeted from its Twitter account.
How would you explain the repeal of Net Neutrality? We did it with the Whopper. Watch the video below: pic.twitter.com/9EWjtbenv8
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) January 24, 2018
Burger King employees are shown withholding or delaying orders to mimic slowed broadband access to illustrate what they call Whopper Neutrality, and mbps speeds ("making burgers per second"), to the anger and consternation of customers.
It riffs on the paid prioritization the new FCC rule revamp would allow, with BK attempting to charge $26 for a priority Whopper delivered faster.
One of the servers portrayed in the video explains: "Burger King Corporation believes they can sell more and make more money selling chicken sandwiches and chicken fries and now they are slowing down the access to the Whopper."
The video ends with the tagline: "The internet should be like the Whopper. The same for everyone," then "change.org/savethenet," then a tweak at FCC chair Ajit Pai's now-famous ever-growing Reese's coffee mug, with the Burger King drinking from a similar, oversized, mug.
“We believe the internet should be like BURGER KING® restaurants, a place that doesn’t prioritize and welcomes everyone,” said Fernando Machado, Burger King Global Chief Marketing Officer of the new campaign, which promotes the product as well as the public policy. “That is why we created this experiment, to call attention to the potential effects of net neutrality.”
Burger King was encouraging "all guests," which is what they called their customers, to "support Net Neutrality by signing the petition at Change.org/SavetheNet."
Net neutrality activist group Public Knowledge circulated a link to the video in a release saying AT&T's call--in a newspaper ad--for an internet Bill of Rights fell short. "Burger King’s new video demonstrates how the American public is likely to be ripped off now that we’ve lost these rules," it said.
Free Our Internet, which avidly supports the FCC's network neutrality rule rollback, was not amused, though it got into the spirit of the satire.
"Burger King’s latest attempt to take on a complicated policy issue outside of its own industry reeks of desperation almost as badly as its Cheetos chicken fries," said executive director Christie-Lee McNally. "The only Whopper here is that Burger King is grossly misleading consumers into the realm of fantasy by suggesting a totally fictional internet pricing regime. In its video, Burger King not only embraces socialist concepts, but it actually makes an underlying promise to consumers to deliver all orders at the same speed; we should hold them to that. Perhaps Burger King’s time would be better spent on working to reduce the 36 percent obesity rate in this country rather than hawking its 37g fat-Whopper under the guise of “net neutrality."
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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