New 'Proud' Whopper is Like All Other Whoppers, That's the Point

In Depth

A San Francisco Burger King restaurant had somewhat of a mystery item on the menu when customers from Sunday’s pride parade visited the location: the new “Proud Whopper.” What makes this Whopper any different? Absolutely nothing, and that’s the point.

Inside the wrapper, diners were met with a rainbow and the words, “We Are All The Same Inside.” And that’s the point of the whole marketing ploy here, to underscore the fact that regardless of the “packaging” of LGBT+ people, honestly, we’re the same as everyone else on the inside. Our gender identities and/or sexual orientations don’t change our fundamental humanity, just as a new name and a pretty new wrapper don’t change the fundamentals of a Whopper. A Whopper in a rainbow wrapper is still a Whopper.

TIME caught up with Fernando Machado, a senior vice president of global branding, who spear-headed this aspect of the burger chain’s new campaign “Be Your Way.” The new tagline is replacing the venerable “Have It Your Way” after four decades.

As a brand, we welcome everyone. We felt that [the Proud Whopper] could bring to life a message of equality, self-expression, authenticity and just being who you are.

Machado told TIME that while he knows the chain will expect backlash from some for its strong support of LGBT+ rights, it hasn’t stopped Burger King from sponsoring pride parades in New York and San Francisco and giving out about 700,000 rainbow-colored paper crowns.

As with anything in life, there will be people who will like it, there will people who will dislike it. We just hope that people will understand that the message is a beautiful one…We really want to be more than burgers, fries and shakes…[We want to] occupy a space that’s more meaningful to people.

The Proud Whopper will only be available for purchase at that one San Francisco location throughout San Francisco Pride week. Which is deeply unfortunate to me, as it means I can’t order one at my nearest Burger King in Maebashi, Gunma. Sounds like I need to make a call to Machado. His title is global branding not bay area branding, right?

Image via Shutterstock.

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