Updated: March 10, 2021 10:09:30 am
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Burger King in the UK wanted to draw attention to lack of female representations in the food industry. Their approach, however, got them grilled instead. Although the brand later apologised, the damage was already done.
“Women belong in the kitchen,” a tweet and ad by the popular fast food brand said on March 8, and quickly drew flak online. Although the print ad quickly makes it apparent that the headline is being used sarcastically, as the message that followed highlighted their intent, the use of the cliché sexist trope on Twitter backfired.
Finally, after calls of boycott started on social media platforms, they deleted the original tweet and said, “We will do better next time.” They also issued a clarification adding: “We decided to delete the original tweet after our apology. It was brought to our attention that there were abusive comments in the thread and we don’t want to leave the space open for that.”
Here’s what they wrote:
We decided to delete the original tweet after our apology. It was brought to our attention that there were abusive comments in the thread and we don’t want to leave the space open for that.
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) March 8, 2021
Fernando Machado, global CMO of brand’s parent company Restaurant Brands International, told Adweek he hopes the attention around the UK tweet will still help spread the campaign’s message in support of expanding the ranks of women as leaders in the culinary world.
As the message got diluted and misinterpreted, Machado admitted: “That did draw some negative feedback from people who only read the headline. But hopefully it will continue to shift to positive as people realize the real intent behind it.”
The ad in question by Burger King was to announce the launch of its H.E.R. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) Scholarship, which offers financial assistance to women who work at Burger King and aspire to an academic degree in culinary arts. “Fine dining kitchens, food truck kitchens, award-winning kitchens, casual dining kitchens, ghost kitchens, Burger King kitchens. If there’s a professional kitchen, women belong there.”
— Hannah Denham (@hannah_denham1) March 8, 2021
The company subsequently explained in follow-up tweets about their initiative in an effort to fix the gender ratio in the restaurant industry, however, many people only saw the first tweet and argued that there were better ways to present the campaign.
“If they want to, of course. Yet only 20% of chefs are women. We’re on a mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry by empowering female employees with the opportunity to pursue a culinary career. #IWD” the brand tweeted. “We are proud to be launching a new scholarship programme which will help female Burger King employees pursue their culinary dreams!” it added.
As the brand started to draw ire on platform and asked it it really needed, they defended the move saying they thought it was important to highlight lack of representation in the industry. They also defend their move and not delete the tweets initially.
Our “thought process” is that women are shockingly underrepresented in our industry, and we thought it was time we did something about it. We’ve created a scholarship to give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) March 8, 2021
Why would we delete a tweet that’s drawing attention to a huge lack of female representation in our industry, we thought you’d be on board with this as well? We’ve launched a scholarship to help give more of our female employees the chance to pursue a culinary career.
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) March 8, 2021Advertisement
However, no amount of defending managed to impress people, they continued to slam the company over their misogynistic comment typically used against women saying they shouldn’t be in the workforce. As many hit out at them for their poor campaign strategy, others trolled with memes and jokes.
I knew there was a reason I’ve been avoiding Burger King my whole life
— Milo Manheim (@MiloManheim) March 8, 2021
— ♡andraea♡ (@Konp3ito_) March 8, 2021
Proof this could have even fit in one tweet
Please don’t use sexism as clickbait. The men in my mentions proves the damage you’re causing by doing this. pic.twitter.com/G0VKGgiZQp
— Becca (@BeccaBeckery) March 8, 2021
Burger King had the perfect setup to go with Burger Queen for the day but chose to publicly execute their social media people instead.
— Anthony (@BigJigglyPanda) March 8, 2021
Bad day for the royal family, especially the Burger King
— Washington Post TikTok Guy 🤹🏼♂️ (@davejorgenson) March 8, 2021
burger king’s female employees asking for equal pay pic.twitter.com/JdtqgUk5KR
— b (@doyalikebaileys) March 8, 2021
Burger King’s social media manager pic.twitter.com/zBvPnpYuVt
— marj 🍳 (@cydoniasands) March 8, 2021
burger king after tweeting “women belong in the kitchen” pic.twitter.com/S71PuqmDr2
— mun || asleep (@sleepdeprivedza) March 8, 2021
the marketing team at burger king uk: we came up with a great tweet for international women’s day
the marketing team at burger king uk: pic.twitter.com/0eo2M202P0
— 灼熱chrisisgr8 📢stop getting covid📢 #BLM (@chriswhoisgreat) March 8, 2021
Subscriber Only Stories
📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates