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Burger King - Crispy Chicken Wrap / Mary J Blige / banned ad - (2012)

Mary J Blige sing about Burger King's "Crispy chicken wrap with three cheeses" and bloggers are horrified. Madame Noir calls it "buffonish". I'm not sure if Madame Noir is angry that BK are targeting people of color, that they called Mary so that she could sell out, or that Mary is singing about chicken while being a black woman, but she hates it.

This is so beneath you. This harmonizing about chicken is a move I would associate with someone whose glory days were far behind them. You still have so much more to contribute to the arts and entertainment game that there was no reason you had to stoop to stereotypes. And I know you may be thinking everybody, across the world, loves chicken. It’s true, most people get down with the poultry; but as a black woman, singing passionately about chicken is not the move!

BK Soon pulled the spot "due to a licensing issue", and anything else might just be people reading way too much into that chicken-thing. It wouldn't be the first time chicken and black people in ads gets flagged with the "racism" card, since the connection runs deep in the US, remember when the KFC Australia pulled their "cricket survival guide" ad after US viewers found it racist? It's a sore spot, lets put it that way.

The Mary ad will be back though, Burger King said so to Gawker:

"The Mary J. Blige advertisement has been pulled due to a licensing issue. BURGER KING® expects to have the Blige ads back on air soon."

Hmm, but then in other news articles Burger King is seen apologizing to both Mary, Queen of R&B and all of her fans, with Mary herself talking about the ad saying it's "unfinished".

Take this ABC news quote : "I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip, so I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw to go out."

Dream sequence huh? You know, I'm not so sure that's making this any better. They ain't mad you in an ad girlfriend, you've done that before, they mad you in an ad selling chicken.

But I'll agree, the edit isn't the best I've ever seen, feels rather unfinished.


If you're still steaming mad after all this, I think you might need a bit of a break from the keyboard and telly. Why not shut off the screens and curl up with a good book. Try "Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power", perhaps.

Client: Burger King
Ad Agency: Mother

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I thought that you were joking with that book reco, but I sought it out later. It's a fantastic historical record of black women in the south using their ingenuity to feed their family and build businesses, showing us foodways, folklore and the history of African-American women. Williams-Forson also makes the point that black women have suffered "gender malpractice" in that they have been misrepresented by both the white culture and by black men; neither has allowed them to speak for themselves, which honestly is a problem still today. Thank you for pointing me to this book. People should read it.