Burger King kicked off mental health awareness month by releasing their newest promotion for “real meals“ in the attempt to showcase that “its OK to be OK.” The fast food chain encourages consumers to #FeelYourWay. Whether this was a jab at Mcdonalds for their famously known “Happy Meals” or a form of authentic awareness for mental health, the company failed to create a mindful conversation appreciating individuals with mental health conditions.
The five meals included in the promotion were titled “YAAAS,” “Salty,” “IDGAF,” “Pissed” and “Blue.” Each meal represented a different mood Burger King inaccurately chose to associate with mental health conditions. The company received most of its backlash from Twitter users that saw a major issue with the dry satire element of the ad, which down plays the seriousness of mental health and contradicts the original message of spreading mental health awareness.
“Congratulations to burger king for ending mental illness the same way kendall jenner and pepsi ended racism,” tweeted one user amidst the promotion release while another user sarcastically joked along tweeting, ”wow thank you for raising awareness about ‘yasss,’ it claims too many lives every year.”
Many of the tweets critiquing the company’s decision to release these meals have raised legitimate points that Burger King did not plan a proper approach for a slogan nor an accurate representation of moods that would appropriately promote the seriousness of mental health.
Burger King’s target audience was obviously aimed toward millennials, which helps explain the decision to use current text slang as the names for the meals, but connecting these so-called moods to terms such as “IDGAF” to stimulate the awareness of mental health just wasn’t tactful and has clearly bolstered a negative response through millennials users on Twitter.
Mental health already carries a negative stigma and is worldly known to be a shameful or sensitive topic to discuss so why would a fast food corporation assume it would stimulate a positive outcome, especially through an advertisement that perpetuates shallow stereotypes?
Not only did Burger King choose inaccurate moods to depict the types of mental health diagnoses associated, but the commercial itself fell short of remaining mindful of the subject. One particular scene of the almost two minute ad shows a women storming down a set of stairs yelling, “my boss is such a creep, I just told him to go [bleep] himself,” while throwing a stack of papers from a box that can imply she was either fired or she quit. This scene has no relevance toward mental health other than an upset women in a work field where her boss is a “creep.”
Over 44 million adults in America have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, according to Mental Health America (MHA), the non-profit organization that partnered with Burger King and unfortunately the ad tragically failed to make a clear connection of spreading awareness on a topic that directly affects many individuals. The only part of this promotion Burger King succeeded at was exhibiting a distasteful poem that has a depressive tone of “bapada, I’m loving it.” Mainstream fast food restaurants should just continue doing what they do best, which is making burgers without a side of lingering contradiction.