It's no longer good to be the King. In a bid to stay within striking distance of rival McDonald's (MCD), Burger King (BKC) has given its plastic King ad mascot the royal flush. Going forward, the nation's No. 2 fast food chain is featuring commercials that highlight fresh ingredients to signify a turn toward the healthy and wholesome, reports say. That wouldn't have been easy with a plastic monarch whose petrified smile stopped him from eating anything Burger King was advertising.

BK's relatively new ownership, 3G Capital, and brand-new ad agency, McGarry Bowen, are aiming to whet subjects' appetites instead of tickling their funny bone, as the King did. The first commercial, which will begin airing this weekend, will feature the new, limited-time California Whopper with guacamole, Swiss cheese and bacon. The spot plays like a cooking-show montage as the burger's fixin's are washed, sliced and diced to a "pulsating" soundtrack, according to Forbes.

"People want a reason to go back to Burger King," Alex Macedo, BK's senior vice president of marketing, told USA Today. "There are no plans to bring the King back anytime soon."

The King's recent legacy is spotty. USA Today cited figures from market researcher Techmonic that showed BK's same-store sales dipped 6% in the first quarter, while McDonald's rose nearly 3%. When 3G Capital bought Burger King in 2010, it faced $3 billion in needed renovations for 7,200 stores, according to reports. And then there was the problem of marketing campaigns that emphasized low prices at a time when quality became the buzz theme, Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff said in USA Today. BK trails even KFC in perceived quality, he explained.

Ron Paul of Technomic said the King was dethroned by "the Whole Foods" effect -- a chain reaction of fast food joints presenting a fresher image.

The King is dead but will he be forgotten? Will critics and consumers look back fondly at his reign, as they did for BK's "Have It Your Way" era? Or is he headed for the tomb of forgotten BK campaigns? If it's the latter, he could find himself in the "Where's Herb?" category.


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cal

How, in your gallery of mascots, did you forget Mario? He basically makes the Nintendo brand single-handedly and every game he's featured in does very well or way better than it should.

May 13 2012 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fluidizer

Well well. Our Queen Obama has taken out another Burger joint in her bizzare quest to dictate what we eat, even as she and her equally tyrannical husband eat bloody well what they please, and plenty of it, on the taxpayer's dollar.
Who among us will henceforth run to the old Burger King for a "healthy" meal?
I would prefer the old Double Whopper thanks, flame broiled and smothered in cheese and mustard, which is my "Way".
Regardless of what the Obama's tell me to eat, I promise them both that no one in my family has a "Back" as huge as Michelle Obama's, and we never will.

August 22 2011 at 9:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Fluidizer's comment
allison

Obama's not telling anybody what they can eat, moron - she is advocating that children eat healthily and exercise so they don't end up looking like you and becoming a burden to the nation's health care system. How anyone could begrudge such a worthy cause is beyond comprehension, at least until you recall the rank stupidity of the American conservative.

May 13 2012 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

NONE of the $3 billion in renovations went to our 3 local Burger Kings, which are the 3 dirtiest-looking, most run down slophouses you've ever seen. The King was creepy, not funny, but he was the least of their problems. The employees are all greasy, long-haired high-school dropouts at these three restaurants, and they make eating there an "I wanna puke" experience.

August 22 2011 at 7:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Taylor

Glad to see the King go, but the new burger sounds terrible.

You'll have the same high fat meat patty with guacamole on top (huge fat content on it's own, yet "healthy fat") then more fat with Swiss cheese and bacon.

I predict that this market shift will fail.

They are moving away from their core market into a market that is already served by many other established competitors. If they are attempting to attract Hispanic customers, that's also been covered. Near every chain has items in that market already.

August 22 2011 at 6:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kelly1863

Do they know what they've done? I mean literally 100 s of thousands of 5 year olds will be traumatized and committing hoot gibson in their jello pudding cups. Buddy of mine would always ask the grand kids where they wanted to go. Of course the littles dinks crooned "Burger King, Burger King" while we cried and wretched ;)

Killing that sick BK campaign is a blessing, but like everybody else says, ya gots to fix the trash you sell too...

August 22 2011 at 5:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dvdfrnzwbr

Why do I get a huge throat full of flem and hocker after eating the Whopper with cheese combo?

August 22 2011 at 5:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Silvana

Seriously? It has nothing to do with a "plastic mascot"......It has everything to do with health issues

that a scoop of guacolmole won't fix. I love Bk food but everybody knows its at the bottom of the health

conscious ladder. It's an only...once in a while kind of thing.

August 22 2011 at 5:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Menzies

Even a McDonald's burger is better than all the SPAM that's on this thread. The Spammers really have a lot of nerve: GET OUT OF HERE; People like: "Katelyn Turner" and "Paul Webster."

August 22 2011 at 4:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Menzies

The Burger "King" looks like a 1970s pimp: He has to go! Compared to McDonalds, however, Burger King's "Whopper" outdoes anything that McDonald's pushes. I love my burgers flame-broiled to order, not fried in grease and salt, left sitting for a couple of hours, then heated up in a microwave upon my order like McDonald's does all the time.

August 22 2011 at 3:56 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ekglester

Thank God! So creepy! Now do something about the food! Blech!

August 22 2011 at 3:29 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply