Friday, April 6, 2012

King of Flubs: Burger King's Mary J. Blige Ad

Apparently there's been a huge uproar and backfire over Burger King's Mary J. Blige crispy chicken commercial. So much so that the ad was quickly removed until further completion. Many fans were offended that the commercial proliferated racial stereotypes of African Americans and chicken. In the commercial Blige stands in the middle of the restaurant performing a song with lyrics about crispy chicken, lettuce, and cheese against the melody of her own song, Don't Mind. Burger King, which has been dealing with falling into the slot of third most popular hamburger chain, has definitely attained some media time now.

Maybe because I've seen Burger King crispy chicken commercials featuring other celebrities, I did not immediately jump on a racially offended band wagon. Selma Hayek and David Beckham also have commercials playing on their strengths of actress and sex symbols; Blige's is singing.

Fans were disappointed in Blige taking part in this commercial with comments such as her being a "serious artist" and "intense person". She responded to fan reaction in a statement on TMZ, "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...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 go out." Honestly, I don't know what else can be done to the commercial that will appease fans if the action of an urban artist singing about chicken is still there. Would it have made people feel better if Justin Timberlake had been singing the hook in the background? As you may remember, he did that for a McDonald's promotion and received no qualms. True, he wasn't specifically singing about crispy chicken, but I wonder if the fall out would have been as negative. If Blige had started to sing Real Love to the guy taking her order in the way that Hayek and Beckham attempt to seduce theirs, would that have appeased viewers? I ask these questions because I wasn't offended by the commercial. I thought it was silly like the others and it looked like it was made during one of my past middle school house parties with Blige wearing Mr. Freeze "Be Cool" shades, but that isn't Blige's fault.

Logo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Burger_King_Logo.svg