Ad Space – Real Men Eat Whoppers

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Burger King’s Texas Double Whopper sandwich

The Promotion:


The Pitch:
Don’t eat healthy – eat like a man!

It’s tempting to view this ad as a work of pure irony. Commercials have a long history of using messages that aren’t meant to be taken seriously; I don’t think the makers of Wilkins Coffee were sincerely advocating violence against anyone who refused their product, for instance.

And there are parts of this commercial that were clearly meant to be ridiculous: the random destruction of property, the burning jock straps, “I will eat this meat – till my innie turns into an outie!”

Except … there are other parts of this commercial that are also ridiculous, but aren’t much different from what a real Men’s Rights Activist would shout: shaming men for eating “chick food”, urging them to rise up and assert their masculinity by eating large quantities of meat.

Heck, this is actually less ridiculous than some MRAs, since at least it’s not claiming soy burgers contain toxic levels of estrogen that will cause men to grow breasts (yes, that’s a real conspiracy theory, ironically one leveled against Burger King when they launched the vegetarian Impossible Whopper).

And I think the ambiguity of this commercial’s stance is 100% intentional.

If you’re inclined to find this ad offensive (as many did) or just really, really dumb (as many also did), there are enough hints of deliberate irony that Burger King can plausibly claim it was done entirely in jest. But if you’ve bought in to the narrative that men are the real oppressed gender, and that being served tofu or quiche is a form of oppression … well, if it makes you more likely to buy a Whopper, then, sure, they’re down with that.

It’s a classic example of faux-irony: ha ha, we’re just kidding … unless you’re into it?