After using it for more than 40 years, Burger King is scrapping its iconic slogan, "Have It Your Way," in favor of the broader, abstruse and less grammatically correct, "Be Your Way."
Burger King's senior vice president of global brand management, Fernando Machado, said in an interview that "Have It Your Way" focuses only on the purchase — the ability to customize a burger. By contrast, "Be Your Way" makes a connection with a person's lifestyle.
Because living the "BK lifestyle" is something to which we all should aspire?
In 2012, Taco Bell, in a similar attempt to be hip, indie and conceptual, changed its slogan from "Think Outside the Bun" to "Live Mas."
As for me, I've never not lived that nachos bellgrande lifestyle, and I'm pretty sure that it's only contributing to me living menos (less lifespan, anyway) than "living more." But as the ad implies, I don't bow to corporate entities and your go-go get 'em lifestyle. I eat what I want, when I want. Damn the man!
A major fast-food chain's slogan is important. It defines the brand. And with all the money spent on advertising (fast-food restaurants spent $4.6 billion on all advertising in 2012), it gets imprinted on your brain and sways you to one drive-through or another. Its effect on children and their ever-evolving minds is massive too, but that's a whole other topic.
I mean, you can recite a fast-food slogan to pretty much anyone and they'll automatically know to which restaurant it refers. And for people who have no willpower and a crippling addiction to fast, easy, deliciously unhealthy food — like me — it can instantly jog hunger pangs. Or in the case of the Hooter's slogan, "Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined," erections.
I "eat fresh" at least once a week, and by eat fresh I mean stale, crusty bread with mealy produce and reheated "grilled" chicken patties that look like they came straight from a rubber factory. I'm not complaining, because look at Jared. That guy is healthy. Ipso facto, I'm healthy.
But this "Be Your Way" BS that BK is throwing at us?
Burger King says its new motto tells people that "they can and should live how they want anytime. It's OK to not be perfect. ... Self-expression is most important and it's our differences that make us individuals instead of robots."
So a Goliath corporation that sells big wads of fat ass is telling us that we're unique and we're special, and gosh dernit, people like us.
C'mon guys. You're selling burgers and satisfries — new, lighter french fries that actually are pretty satisfying, if you're a fan of runny stool. This isn't like choosing a mate, or what book to read, or even a hairstyle. This is choosing between which calorie-laden, innutritious fuel people want to put in their body.
The folks at the ad agency who won Burger King's estimated $325 million global account probably are innovative, snappily dressed risk takers with original thoughts. They think outside of the box, those guys!
But the customers at Burger King, or at least any one I've ever visited in Richmond, aren't quite on that level. In terms of opportunity and spending power, most of them are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Let's put it this way, unlike the upwardly mobile creative crowd and the special snowflakes, I bet most Burger King customers you see riding bicycles aren't doing so because they're trying to lessen their carbon footprint or "get in a workout."
I was curious about what the average Burger King employee, the people in the trenches so to speak, would have to say about this new slogan. And as there's a Burger King right next to my house and that I'm a rugged individualist who eats fatty crap without regard to personal health, I decided to pop in to ask, "What exactly does the new BK slogan, 'Be Your Way,' mean?"
"Uhh. Let me get my manager."
Manager: "I'm not sure. I guess it's meant to make you think."
"Man, do you want to order? We're pretty busy."
"I'll have a number four and make it a large."
And with that, I felt like a number. A faceless cog.
That's called intrepid reporting.
It's also called an advertising agency grossly overestimating what Burger King's core customer base is there for. Hint: It isn't a motivational pep talk.
Although, I bet I know some people who are lovin' it.
Connect with Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback at email@example.com. Lauterback also is co-host of "Mornings with Melissa and Jack" on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. On Twitter @jackgoesforth.