My Heartiest THANKS to ABC7 News for running this very important story.
A whopper of a controversy is surrounding fast food giant Burger King. Its new ad campaign is seen as beyond tasteless to Hindus around the world.
"It shows insensitivity by Burger King to show meat with something that is very sacred to Hinduism which is Goddess Lakshmi," says Mihir Meghani, president of the Hindu American Foundation.
Hindus throughout the Bay Area aren't taking the ad lightly either.
"Any Hindu that sees this one is going to feel bad," says Gudawar Singh from Hayward.
"I don't think anybody considers this a good thing," says Kiran Kamineni from Fremont.
Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is spearheading the protest against Burger King's insensitive and tasteless advertisement to misuse, denigrate and slander the religion of over 800 Million Hindus around the world in order to make money. Here is PDF of the letter that HAF has sent to Burger King's headquarter in the US and Spain.
Although there are some websites reporting some so-called statement from Burger King on the issue but I couldn't find no such apology statement from Burger King on their Official website.
I love it how Adage.com in their article "Stay Classy, Burger King. Stay Classy" rip apart the so-called apology statement which is floating around.
Not content to let its international ad campaigns make fun of Mexicans or degrade women, Burger King is now offending members of one of the world's oldest religions and its third largest. According to ABC, Spanish Burger King restaurants are using marketing material that shows the Hindu goddess Lakshmi sitting on top of a ham sandwich. You know, because nothing says "We respect your faith" like portraying a sacred figure of a mostly vegetarian religion sitting on top a quarter pound of charred flesh.I encourage every Hindu out there to join hands in this peaceful protest and lodge your complaint to bring these pompous corporates, who think they can do anything distasteful and offensive like this and get away with it, to justice. Following is a sample letter by HAF that you can send to Burger King,
Here's a helpful tip for agencies and marketers alike when deciding to play with such imagery: Before setting a religious figure down on paper in an ad campaign, substitute Jesus or, better yet, the Prophet Muhammad. Now, would you give that the green light? No, you wouldn't. So why are you doing it with any other religion?
Here's BK's official response (with editorial commentary): "Burger King Corporation values and respects all of its guests as well as the communities we serve (You certainly have a funny way of showing it). This in-store advertisement was running to support a limited-time-only local promotion for three restaurants in Spain and was not intended to offend anyone (Oh, well that makes it perfectly OK, then, doesn't it). Out of respect for the Hindu community, the in-store advertisement has been removed from the restaurants (Translation: We were caught, and it's creating a PR headache, so we guess we'll go ahead and take it down. We would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids at the Hindu American Foundation!).
Namaste HAF Supporters,Upset Hindus want apology from Burger King for denigrating goddess Lakshmi
Our inboxes have been inundated with determined notes from you asking what you can do to help take down Burger King's offensive advertisement. Well, we are giving you three things to do. Firsts, send a letter of protest to Burger King headquarters in the U.S.. Second, send the same letter by email to headquarters in Spain. We have provided a sample letter below which you may use verbatim or feel free to draft your own, but in our experience here at HAF, we have found that anger is never as effective as persistence and professionalism, so please do keep that in mind if you choose to send an original letter.
Dear Mr. Chidsey and Mr. Klein,
I am requesting the immediate removal of a Spanish ad campaign by Burger King that is highly disrespectful and offensive to Hindus worldwide followed by a public apology by Burger King. The ad displays an image of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth) with a meat sandwich and other food items and text which translates to, "A snack that's sacred." An advertisement using sacred symbols, especially those of another culture, for purely commercial purposes is offensive in and of itself, but compounding this insult is the use of an image of a Hindu goddess for the sale of a meat product.
As an international company conducting business primarily from the U.S., one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse nations, we would hope the corporate leadership of Burger King more proactively exercise multicultural respect in its advertisement campaigns, both domestically and abroad.
We support the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and ask that you abide by the Foundation's requests in its original letter dated June 30th.
The note should be sent by U.S. Mail to U.S. Corporate Headquarters at the address below:
Mr. John W. Chidsey, Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Russ Klein, President of Global Marketing, Strategy and Innovation
Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126
In addition, you may call the Corporate Headquarters at +1 305 378 3000.
Please also email the letter to Burger King's Spain Headquarters: email@example.com
And now for the third thing you can do. Spread the word about this protest and ask others to send in the above letter! Thanks and may our collective effort be fruitful.
The Team at Hindu American Foundation
Hindus have asked Burger King Corporation to publicly apologize and immediately withdraw a poster seen in Spain, which shows Hindu goddess Lakshmi promoting a meat sandwich, which they termed repugnant.Burger King's MO: Offend, Earn Media, Apologize, Repeat: Fast Feeder Draws Ire From Hindus for Ad in Spain -- But This Isn't the First Time It's Caused a Stir
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was highly disturbing to see goddess Lakshmi, who is highly revered in Hinduism, modeling for a meat sandwich as shown. Lakshmi was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for pushing meat sandwiches in the streets for mercantile greed of a global corporation.
The poster is titled “LA MERIENDA ES SAGRADA”, which roughly translates as “Snack is sacred” and shows a meat-cheese sandwich with few other products for 1.75 Euros. What was so ‘sacred’ about a meat sandwich, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked.
Rajan Zed pointed out that Hinduism promoted strict vegetarianism insisting on ahimsa (not harming living creatures) and non-killing, and renouncing animal slaughter and meat eating. It suggested taking of sattvik (vegetables, fruits, etc.) and avoiding rajasik (eggs, etc.) and tamasik (meat, intoxicants, etc.) foods.
Zed argued that there was extensive protection of life in Hinduism and ahimsa was a command. It was a clear denigration showing a Hindu goddess patronizing a meat sandwich.
How's this for a global marketing strategy? Each month target a different international market with an ad that offends some segment of the population, then, after earning a lot of media attention, apologize and pull the ad.Burger King advertising in Spain angers Hindus
That's the pattern of offense Burger King has established in the past few months. Most recently, the fast feeder had cultural and religious groups screaming today in the latest installment of what has become a series of monthly melees.
Spokeswoman Denise Wilson added that the work was done by a "locally based Spain agency" and not U.S. agency of record Crispin Porter & Bogusky. She did not identify the shop (Crispin is Burger King's agency of record for broadcast advertising in Spain and some other global markets, but a range of other agencies are said to be brought in to handle print, digital and other executions), but another person familiar with the situation identified the maker of the ad as JWT-Delvico, which has offices in Madrid and Barcelona. JWT referred calls to Burger King.
This has all become familiar. In April, Burger King pulled and said it would revise a European TV spot for its Texican Whopper that had proved offensive to Hispanics. In it a small, masked wrestler draped in a Mexican flag was carried around by a tall gent in jeans and a cowboy hat. Parents expressed dismay in the chain's online promotion of "Star Trek" in May, in which the chain's iconic King character kicked a succession of people in the crotch. Last month brought "The 7-incher," a promotion in Singapore for a long, fat burger that was sure to "blow your mind away." A woman's head with an awed, open mouth accompanied the picture of the sandwich.
Burger King’s Ad Campaign For A Ham Sandwich Uses An Icon of Lakshmi: A Snack That Is Sacred?
Hindus demand removal of 'offensive ad' by Burger King
Burger King Battles Controversy, Contemplates Menu Changes
The Hindu religion, which has the highest proportion of vegetarians among major denominations, frowns upon showing meat with a revered goddess, as well as exploiting one of its sacred symbols. Although the Hindu American Foundation has demanded that Burger King pull the ad, so far, BK has declined to comment.Come on, now please don't be a lazy ass and grow some balls. Look at how Jews do it guys, and I support them 100%, so can we.