Crispin Porter + Bogusky is one of those too-cool-for-school ad shops that happens to be remarkably visible right now. Their clients are huge and well-advertised, so their work is difficult to ignore. Burger King, one of their biggest clients, has been a routine offender on this site, so it should come as no surprise that we think Crispin Porter + Bogusky should fuck off. If you'd like to read a nicely-written critique of the agency, check out this Slate article. If you'd like to look at their latest pile of total crapola on the airwaves, watch this video and read below:
Announcer: We stopped selling the Whopper for one day to see what would happen.
This is, for the record, actual footage of real people. Real people getting irked when they find out a fast food store has stopped selling their marquee product. Their reactions make sense, and it's obvious to predict what would happen. So why they bothered setting the commercial up as a faux science experiment is beyond me.
There are various embarrassing scenes of normal people yelling at the actors in this Burger King, most of which make everyone look insane. In the extended cut (I'm not going to bother linking to it since I don't want anyone to waste 7 minutes of their lives like I did), the people actually seem more reasonable and less bitchy. For instance, the lady who says "I want your manager" says "please" in the full version. So editing the commercial this way just makes people look like bigger idiots than they are -- a cheap shot by both Burger King and Crispin Porter.
Announcer: What happened was, people freaked.
Right, not shocking. This is what everybody expected (thanks for using the very adult word "freaked" by the way.) So what does this commercial tell us about Burger King? Well, they have something called the Whopper, and it's popular. So popular, in fact, that if you took it away, people would get kind of belligerent if you edited their reactions in a certain unfair, dickish way. Beyond that, all this says is the patently obvious.
What would happen if McDonald's took their Big Mac away? What would happen if the Coca-Cola Co. took Sprite away? What would happen if Crispin Porter + Bogusky took their Shitball Broadcast Commercial Department away? Is there a less interesting advertising concept than this?
In the extended version of this hidden camera bit, they have a scene where they put a McDonald's hamburger in the bag of someone who had ordered a Whopper. When the customer complains, the employee/actor says something about how BK couldn't have put that McDonald's hamburger in there because McDonald's (and Wendy's) fries their burgers, and Burger King only has flame broilers. Now that's interesting. That's differentiating. That might even be good enough to make a commercial out of. At the very least you could use that claim to set yourself apart. Instead, we get rough-hewn, dull advertising that's packaged like it's cutting edge. This is not unique. This is not creative. And for the record, seeing people freak out isn't exactly a universal appetite enhancer.