It’s fair to say that Burger King had a pretty awful, no-good week. Even after a wildly successful redesign from JKR, it seemed the King flew a little too close to the flames of the broiler and unleashed a rather curious campaign for International Women’s Day. Wanting to shine a light on gender disparity in the restaurant industry, Burger King UK tweeted that “women belong in the kitchen,” as 20% of women are professional chefs. Anywho, it wasn’t a good look for the burger behemoth—they took a grilling from pretty much everyone on the interwebs and issued an apology for the careless messaging.
I mean, we could also complain about how Burger King doesn’t pay their chefs a living wage, but I digress.
That thoughtless bit of tomfoolery wasn’t lost on Austin, Texas-based agency Hunt, Gather. Once the studio caught wind of the can’t-believe-someone-actually-approved-this campaign from Burger King, they set out to create a line of merchandise skewering the dunderheaded tweet.
"I saw the tweet first, then the ad, and I immediately shared it with our women-powered team on slack. We were disgusted and discussed it all day," said Lynna Bartosh, partner and creative director at Hunt, Gather. "At 4:30 pm, we came up with an idea to fight back. We quickly rallied our creative team on a Zoom call and asked if they wanted to make something of this. The answer was a very loud, 'Fuck Yes.'"
Working through the night, the agency created t-shirts, stickers, posters, and totes, which you can now purchase at Burger-Queen. All proceeds from the Burger King-inspired line of merch will go to Girls Empowerment Network.
Most of us around these parts are suckers for an inspired piece of retro design, particularly when it uses bubbly, puffed-out burger letters. Super70s baseball jerseys and t-shirts read “Have It Her Way” and “A Woman’s Place Is Anywhere She Wants,” the latter also coming in the shape of, you guessed it, a burger. Overall, they made expert use of the new BK typography, in addition to the new branding assets from the popular redesign.
"Each team member worked to create their own piece and interpretation," Lynna added "Really, an outstanding effort by every talented and inspired woman that we work with, and it wouldn't have been possible without them. We launched at 11:55 pm, less than six hours later. Women are incredible, and the lesson for BK is that, bottom line, words—and actions—matter.
Since the project launched, the agency has received many notes and emails from women all over the world thanking them for taking action, and they've almost sold out of the merch. "We're just so incredibly humbled by the response," Lynna said.
As of this writing, the agency still hasn’t received a cease and desist order from Burger King. Given their lousy week, it might be best to just lay low for a little while.
Project Manager: Shannon Knight
Creative Director: Lynna Bartosh, Kathy Horn
Senior Art Directors: Andrea Hamann, Samantha Ortiz, Bianca Blue, Terri Bonnet
Art Director: Jenna Candusso
Senior Designer: Theresa Williams
Junior Designer: Megan Hicks
Production Designer: Roxanne Ratliff
Creative Developer: Leslie Crosby