Burger King Gives Ronald McDonald a Big Ol’ Kiss for Helsinki Pride

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Why share a rivalry when you can share a passionate embrace instead? The usually adversarial relationship between McDonald’s and Burger King has blossomed into love in a painting depicting the two fast food chains’ iconic mascots locking lips.

Relationship status: advertisement official.

The aptly titled painting, “Love Conquers All,” was commissioned by Burger King and unveiled in outdoor and print advertising—as well as the Whopper giant’s own channels and restaurants—around Finland during Helsinki Pride Week, which is typically celebrated the last week of June but had been pushed back due to Covid-19.

The long-awaited kiss campaign was developed by the Burger King Finland team in creative partnership with TBWAHelsinki and Virta Helsinki. Per a statement from Burger King Finland, the painting is meant to serve as a celebration of love in all of its forms.

“Burger King has always stood for equality, love and everyone’s right to be just the way they are,” Burger King Finland brand manager Kaisa Kasila said in the statement. “The only instance where it might not seem so is when we’re bantering with our competitor.”

And banter they have! Burger King has roasted its rival’s buns several times since Fernando Machado joined as global CMO in 2014, with the execution of at least eight marketing and PR campaigns that overtly trolled McDonald’s. Its most recent was a “secret stunt” wherein a Whopper was photographed in front of a Big Mac in every piece of print, TV and in-store advertising that people came across in the U.K. in 2019 (the Whopper “covered up” the Big Mac to prove its superiority in size).

So, why the sudden change of heart for the Finnish campaign? Even though it appears that the two fast food chains have bad blood, they also have a lot of respect for each other.

“We thought, what a better way to convey our values than by portraying an all-encompassing kiss between Burger King and McDonald. We wanted to show that in the end, love always wins,” Kasila continued. “And we know McDonald’s stands for the values we stand for, too.”

McDonald’s has certainly come a long way from its landmark injunction against former Ronald McDonald actor Bob Brandon, who after coming out of the closet in 1977 as gay was forbidden from ever donning the clown’s garb again or implying that the mascot was a homosexual.

“Diversity and inclusion is one of our cover values at Restaurant Brands International. We believe that a wide range of diverse voices and perspectives makes us a stronger company,” Machado told Adweek. “That’s why, for instance, we have worked with the Human Rights Campaign to raise our Corporate Equality Index (CEI). We are really proud of the fact that today we have a CEI of 100%.”

For several years now, Burger King has sponsored a series of Pride events in multiple countries, including the United States, Brazil, Spain and the U.K. This year, Burger King Finland is the official partner of Helsinki Pride.

“Our brand is always bold, edgy and fun. So showcasing this ‘impossible kiss’ is a way to demonstrate that love conquers all. And we hope that ‘the other guys’ understand that it is actually a celebration of love rather than a competitive statement,” Machado added.


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