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Burger King wants you to stand up to bullying just as you would to seeing a burger being smashed.
In a new commercial-meets-PSA that seeks to address one of the major acts of violence against young people in America today, the fast food chain mixes a promo for their Whopper Jr. with an anti-bullying campaign.
The video starts out with kids talking about how hard it is to intervene when they witness someone else getting bullied. “It’s been hard for me to stand up for other people because I feel like I’m already a target,” one explains. “It’s just easier to do nothing,” another says.
Next, you see a kid being harassed by bullies (all actors) in a Burger King restaurant. The customers are real and they look visibly concerned — but very, very few actually speak up.
“We bullied a High School Jr. and a Whopper Jr. to see which one received more complaints,” text on the video reads.
But when customers receive burgers that have been smashed by a Burger King employee, however, they walk right past the kid being harassed to complain about their squashed food.
“Did you order it bullied or unbullied?” a worker asks at the counter. “Had you seen me bullying this burger, would you have stood up and said something?” A customer responds, “Yeah.”
And that’s when we find out that 95 percent of customers in the restaurant reported the bullied burger ... but only 12 percent stood up for the high school junior being bullied.
Many online have posted their appreciation for the spot, with one saying it’s one of the best things they’ve seen in awhile. Another wrote in the video’s YouTube comments, “I think that it's good that a large company uses it's voice to simply ask people to think about the problem.”
Not everyone was feeling the warm fuzzies over the ad, though. One person wrote in the comments, “Nice way to bully your customers, BK.” One called the commercial a staged publicity stunt, posting, "All of these are actors. Or burger king has the best damn camuflaged microphones and cameras ever."
Burger King remains proud of its latest campaign. In a statement emailed to TODAY Food, Burger King's head of global brand management Fernando Machado said, “The campaign is a first step to try to make a difference. That's why BK partnered with No Bully to create awareness and we are looking into how to extend the relationship."
The chain is working with NoBully.org, a nonprofit that began in 2003 with the goal of igniting student compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying.
“At Burger King we are known for putting the crown on everyone’s head," Machado continued. "We respect individuality by allowing people ‘have it their way’. We take pride of welcoming everyone. Bullying goes against that. It goes against all the things we believe in ... No junior deserves to be bullied, yet 30 percent of students worldwide are bullied each year.”
While the message is an important one (speak up for humans being bullied as you would for your food), it’s a bit ironic that the chain is using this as a platform when they recently “bullied” rival fast-food restaurant Wendy’s with their new spicy chicken nuggets.