The Reason Burger King's New Ad Campaign Is Intentionally Confusing

No, Burger King has not put out an ad lauding McDonald's. Instead, a follow-up to DAVID Madrid's 2021 Burger King ad "Confusing Times" has aired. It's called "Even More Confusing Times."

The advertisement, which you can watch on YouTube, introduces a series of questions that satirically highlight how unrooted from norms people have become. In one case, a family has a child called Max. But their neighbor adopted a dog that they decided to call Max. So, the voiceover asks, did their neighbors call their dog a human name, or did the family give their child a dog name? Other scenarios include a man who worries that allowing his daughter to play as a princess is bad parenting, a person who's concerned that deleting a message to their ex is in fact an even worse message, and a consumer who bought an energy-efficient washing machine but has second thoughts about whether this was indeed good for the environment.

All these questions lead to the most confusing thing of all: Burger King's plant-based nuggets. They taste like chicken but aren't chicken. How confusing.

Burger King's plant-based nuggets aim to confuse

The idea that people will be genuinely confused by the plant-based nugget is key to the product's success. "We believe the products are so confusingly close to the real thing that we hope everyone who comes to a QSR will try the products," Iwo Zakowski, Burger King's head of marketing, explained to Muse by Clio.

A similar point was made by food critic Soleil Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle when Burger King tested out Impossible Nuggets in select American cities in 2021. If consumers can shrug and say that the nuggets do remind them of chicken, then they are in a situation that does not require killing chickens.

Eater adds that if Burger King can convince customers that the plant-based nuggets are a reasonable enough substitute for chicken ones, it would save a lot of money because it wouldn't have to engage with the inflated price of chicken. In terms set out by "Even More Confusing Times," one could ask, "If a company offers a product that is better for the environment but does so because it makes more sense for the bottom line, is it a virtuous product?" How confusing.