Burger King has rebranded. The fast food behemoth released this week an advertisement about an internet without net neutrality. In the commercial -as-public service announcement, actors trick real customers into thinking that there are different prices for Whoppers delivered at different speeds. The premium, high-speed Whopper costs $26. But if you’re down to wait 20 minutes, the Whopper is only $5.
The fictitious prices are a metaphor for a future tiered internet that’s controlled by Internet Service Providers like Verizon and Comcast. Without net neutrality consumer protections, ISPs could slow download speeds for certain types of content, and then charge customers extra for the privilege of fast wifi.
What does this all have to do with a burger? Well, nothing. It’s a savvy branding move meant to garner the adoration of the internet masses. Burger King executives probably saw the Szechuan sauce debacle, and noticed that appealing to the online crowd is an effective business strategy.
The trend of socially-conscious brands performing their progressive bonafides hasn’t gone unnoticed. Saturday Night Live filmed a digital short in the wake of the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad, and the satire is relevant here, too.
This is the first we’ve heard from Burger King about its stance on internet freedom. Like Pepsi was the official soda of attractive young people protesting, Burger King is attempting to position itself as the official burger of net neutrality.
For now, the advertising ploy is working. Burger King’s video already has over a million views. Look for other corporations to develop a social conscious in the future, and reap the financial rewards. The ultimate question for BK executives is will it become the internet activist’s fast food chain of choice?