Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh no, not this again

Dear Burger King,

Several weeks ago, I promised to be more positive in this blog. "I will not excessively bash every bad marketing campaign I see out there", I said. Overall, I've been pretty good about keeping my promise. In fact, it's been over a month since I last bashed one of your campaigns (and that was only the third time; one and two here). Unfortunately, with deep regret, I must now ask that you please re-assume the position.

Branded Newb
In 1999, author Max Barry (link to blog) wrote the satirical advertising novel "Syrup", which turned into a cult classic. The story is about one guy who invents a cola named "Fukk" and ultimately becomes incredibly successful because of pure marketing evilness. In a brilliant moment of satire, the marketers of "Fukk" decide to promote the cola by making an entire movie based on the drink. The whole thing is so preposterous, it's thrilling. Ahh satire, so funny... until it's true.

The ad agency behind Burger King has leaked that a BK movie is in the works. AdAge breaks the exclusive news (via Adrants). Contrary to my first guess, the movie is not about the creepy King. Rather, it's going to be a story that takes place "above" a Burger King restaurant. That's right folks, it's a movie ad.

I like advertising but not THAT much! But after initially throwing up a little bit from the news, I started to think. Let's play devil's advocate here. Let's say the movie is actually entertaining. Does the fact that it comes from the ad agency doom it regardless? Maybe, maybe not.

I'm sure at some point some of you have enjoyed a commercial or two on TV. You probably even quoted it for witty points at a dinner party. Consider this a very long commercial. Maybe the movie will be so good, it'll just be like that. There's just one problem. Money.

I'm paying for something when I watch a movie. I'm paying for the experience but in an extended way, I'm also paying to promote the movie as an artform. I'm paying the writer, director, actors and crew for being creative and bringing me this wonderful content. When I pay to watch an ad movie, what am I really paying for and what behavior am I positively reinforcing?

The answers to those questions are what make this impossibly difficult to digest. It's a bad idea. Even as an evil marketer myself, I can't swallow this blasphemy of an artform. Use some other evil distribution method like giving it away free in a meal or mailing like it AOL CDs. Don't put it in a theater and sully the art.

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