Burger King Aims To Confuse With Plant-Based Whopper Campaign

After the initial success of its meatless Impossible Whopper, which landed in over 7,000 US locations in August 2019 in partnership with the plant-based company Impossible Foods, Burger King vegan patties have found their way to Brazil, China, and other countries (via VegNews). The meatless option apparently tastes strikingly similar to the fast food giant's standard meat offerings, as per a 2019 review in Eat This, Not That! Made from the plant protein soy leghemoglobin, Impossible Foods explains that its patties are composed of the same molecule that makes actual meat taste meaty — but, in this case, it's derived from soy.

Impossible meat also has environmental benefits. A 2020 report from Burger King's parent company revealed that "guests who chose the Impossible Whopper avoided the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of driving about 520 million miles." Despite the Impossible Whopper's popularity, there may still be skeptics out there who would much rather tuck into a slab of meat in between bites of fries. In an inventive effort to convert their carnivorous fan base into Impossible Whopper evangelists, Burger King has launched a global campaign that uses an optical illusion to show plant-based ingredients in a new light (via Adweek). 

The new ads read, 'Sorry for the confusion, meat lovers'

Burger King's new campaign is simply called, "Meat?" It will be featured on billboards everywhere from Germany to Mexico to Brazil (via Adweek). Upon first glance, the high-def photographs appear to show close-up shots of red meat marbled with pockets of fat. But after studying the image for a few moments, the eye transforms the photograph from a glamour shot of beef or pork into a close-up of red-hued vegetables like red pepper, beetroot, and radicchio. Suddenly, a meat eater who thought they were being encouraged to pull over for a classic Burger King Whopper at the next exit is forced to think of its plant-based competitor as equally mouthwatering. 

Adweek quotes Iwo Zakowski, head of global brand marketing at Burger King, who said, "At Burger King, our plant-based products often feel, taste and look like real meat, yet many guests are skeptical. We wanted to bring a visually powerful message that makes you reconsider that not everything in life is what is seems to be." The campaign is just one move in Burger King's recent spate of plant-based initiatives, which included opening its first 100% plant-based pop-up in Cologne, Germany last year that stretched its Impossible meat beyond the Whopper into menu items like nuggets and sandwiches, prompting a similar "Vurger King" location in Madrid, Spain. As a multi-billion-dollar company, Burger King's meat-free alternatives continue to make a major impact.