In the age of social media spurring heated fast food wars, Burger King has developed a flair for playing with fire — and not just because it sells flame-grilled meats.
Now, however, an advertisement for the chain's successful Impossible Whopper is receiving major backlash from a conservative non-profit group over its use of an "inappropriate" word.
The commercial, which was first released online in August, depicts a crowd awaiting the opening of a new restaurant called Impossible in New York City. The store is soon revealed to be a Burger King as patrons excitedly enter to chow down on plant-based burgers. Then the customers tell the camera their (overwhelmingly positive) thoughts on the fast-food chain's newest offering.
One woman gives the burger high praise and, while there are some expletives peppered in, they are bleeped out in the ad.
Another customer's curse word was not.
"Damn, that's good," says the customer with a mouthful of the Impossible Whopper.
On Friday, One Million Moms launched a petition requesting Burger King remove the ad from social media and TV where, according to the group it "is airing during prime time, when families are likely watching." TODAY was unable to verify in which markets the commercial has aired, or is currently airing, but the spot under fire is still present on the burger giant's Twitter account.
According to One Million Moms, the use of the "d-word" is highly inappropriate.
"Burger King’s Impossible Whopper ad is irresponsible and tasteless," the group's petition states. "It is extremely destructive and damaging to impressionable children viewing the commercial. We all know children repeat what they hear."
The group, which touts itself as a pro-family organization, goes on to chastise Burger King for its marketing decisions and is urging parents to boycott the chain until the "d-word" is censored or the commercial is removed entirely. As of Tuesday, the online petition has been signed over 10,000 times.
One Million Moms is a division of the American Family Association, a non-profit evangelical Christian group. Both organizations have a history of speaking out against pro-LGBTQ campaigns and causes. In December, the group made headlines for demanding that the Hallmark Channel remove an ad for the wedding website Zola which featured a same-sex couple. Initially, Hallmark removed the ad, but after more backlash, it was reinstated and the network apologized.
So far, plenty of people seem to be siding with Burger King and have called the petition ridiculous or say they think the notoriously conservative group has gone too far.
In recent years, Burger King has been trying to master the art of the viral marketing stunt. Some ads walk a fine line between funny and improper, such as the delivery service ads that used images of real, very serious car accidents at various drive-thru locations around the country. But others, like the time the chain gave away copycat Big Macs to customers with McDonald's MacCoins, just seem to be in good fun.
A representative for Burger King was not immediately available for comment.