A controversial headline designed to carry a positive message has exploded in Burger King’s face and set social media alight.
Yesterday – which also happened to be International Women’s Day – the burger giant ran a full-page ad in The New York Times with the headline “Women Belong in the Kitchen”.
However, it wasn’t as sexist as it sounds. The ad’s actual intention was far more noble and was promoting the company’s new scholarship program that aims to get more women into cheffing as a career.
The fine print to the ad, developed by its creative agency Miami David, read: “Only 24 per cent of chef positions in America are occupied by women. Want to talk head chefs? the number drops to fewer than seven per cent.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, when tweeted out on social, only the headline “women belong in the kitchen” got posted.
To its credit, the brand didn’t delete the tweet – despite being called out by rival KFC – and, instead, offered a hasty explanation.
The re-tweet has since generated 500,000 likes and people are now arguing if people are agreeing with the sexist sentiment or the more noble message it was intended.
Others argued the chain was deliberately using a sexist clickbait message to drive more social traffic.
One person tweeted: “The difference in likes between the first and the second tweet scares me.”
Another added: “Imagine if they ran out of 5G before they could send that second tweet, LOL.”
“Someone in the marketing department doesn’t understand Twitter very well,” added another.
Burger King responded that it would be foolish to delete a tweet “that’s drawing attention to a huge lack of female representation in our industry, we thought you’d be on board with this as well?”
In a follow-up statement, a company spokesperson said: “We are committed to helping women break through a male-dominated culinary culture in the world’s fine dining restaurants — and sometimes that requires drawing attention to the problem we’re trying to help fix.
“Our headline today was intentionally designed to draw attention to the unacceptable fact that only seven percent of head chefs in the U.S. are women. We understand that some are only reading the headline without our explanation, but we’re sure that when people read the entirety of our commitment, they will share our belief in this important opportunity.”
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