Burger King in New Zealand has removed an advertisement that showed people eating a Vietnamese-themed burger with oversized chopsticks for being racist and offensive.
The ad in question featured people trying to eat the Vietnamese Sweet Chilli burger with a pair of giant chopsticks.
Maria Mo, a Korean New Zealander and student at the University of Waikato, tweeted her shock after viewing the advertisement.
“I couldn’t believe such blatantly ignorant ads are still happening in 2019, it honestly took me a second to work out what the heck I was looking at,” said the university student.
In response to the negative attention the advertisement received, Burger King removed the promotional material explaining it wasn’t a representation of the brand.
“We are truly sorry that the ad has appeared insensitive to our community.
“We have removed and it certainly does not reflect our brand values around diversity and inclusion,” said James Woodbridge, Burger King’s general manager for marketing.
In March the advertisement in question was ordered to be removed from television by the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds it was “enticing people to overeat” because of the the final line in the ad: “Just need another three!”
The ad was pulled from television, however, it was still being promoted on social media, including on Burger King’s Facebook page – though it has since been removed – and as a sponsored post on Instagram, which is where Mo viewed it.
Mo previously explained that she was “extremely fed up, and tired” with seeing this particular depiction of Asians in mainstream media. “I could not believe that such a concept was approved for such a big, well-known company.”
She also believed the advertisement is a representation of the “kind of demographics they must employ across the board for their ads”.
Her original tweet sharing the promotional video has been viewed over 2 million times, with many voicing their support of her stance.
“This is poor taste,” said one Twitter user.
Others criticised the complaint saying they “don’t find Burger King’s ad to be remotely ‘racist’. It’s funny but not culturally insensitive either”.
The ad promoting the brand’s new ‘Tastes of the World’ burger range also featured a customer eating an American-themed burger with Rocky-style stars and stripes boxing gloves, and another eating the Japanese ‘tonkatsu’ burger with robotic hands.