You may recall that in 2011 Burger King temporarily dethroned its mascot in order to put more emphasis on the actual food it sold (via Forbes).
It didn’t take long for Burger King to bring back the creepy, big-headed king into their commercials, though. You’re all familiar with the chain’s mascot, and the strange contrast between the large plastic head and the normal human body, but the origin of the mascot is even stranger.
Back in the 1970s, fast food was a big deal, and that’s where the crazy story of the BK mascot begins. CBR reports that it wasn’t unusual for the fast food chain to employ magicians in costume to either entertain or entice children to dine there.
A person dressed as the king would make appearances at participating businesses to perform magic tricks and distribute balloons. Accordingly,
some massive plastic king heads were manufactured to fit over the helium tanks so as to maintain the theme. The balloons were inflated by the entertainers through a hole in the king’s mouth, which was also included in the design.
What Is Burger King’s Mascot?
Print advertisements for the company featured a King with white hair and a golden crown sitting on a burger throne from the 1950s through the late 1960s, but that wasn’t the only version of the king used.
However, the company didn’t start using miniature animated versions of the King until the 1970s.
Modern versions of the Burger King mascot dress like a king, complete with a plastic oversized head sporting a long brown beard and curly mustache.
How The Head Made Its Triumphant Return
The chain’s TV ads in the 1960s and 1970s featured a cartoon king. According to Burger King fandom, in all of the commercials, the normal-sized king would give away small gifts to children or take them out to eat at the restaurant.
At the end of the commercial, the king would say the chain’s slogan, “Burger King, where kids are king.” Therefore, the children’s entertainers dressed as kings made sense (albeit creepily) as part of the campaign.
Let’s jump ahead 30 years, to the beginning of this century. Burger King wanted to refresh its marketing efforts, so it enlisted the help of the advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
According to CBR, one executive was looking into the new venture when he came across one of the old helium tank covers on eBay and decided to incorporate it. So began the reign of the new, larger-than-life king in 2004. Despite the fact that learning the mascot’s strange backstory won’t make you like it anymore, at least you’ll have some context for it.
When Was He Created?
It was in the 1960s that the Burger King mascot, the Whopper, first appeared on television as an animated cartoon.
The commercials for Burger King used to end with the slogan “Burger King, where kids are king,” in which the king would be shown purchasing food for his subjects at the fast food chain.
But in the 2000s, when the company hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky to develop a fresh brand identity, the King came to life.
The current Burger King mascot, the big-headed king, debuted in 2004 as part of a joint effort to rebrand the company.
Burger King Was Too Creepy
And so, the Burger King name decided to extend an invitation to the original Burger King to return to his royal seat. This time, though, he was going live-action. A commercial from 2004 featured a real person dressed as a monarch serving breakfast to a bedside customer (via Comic Book Resources). It would be a fitting beginning to the King’s new attitude.
The live-action Burger King has a new look, and it’s not a pretty one. The most noticeable and disconcerting change is that the actor’s head isn’t in the suit. It’s a ridiculously oversized mascot headpiece, to be exact.
This iteration lasted for about seven years at most. The King reportedly retired in 2011. A senior marketing executive at the time, Alex Macedo, reassured the public,
“There are no plans to bring the King back anytime soon.” As Josh Koza, Burger King’s former CFO put it, “We got rid of the creepy king character that tended to scare away women and children.”
But alas, it was not to last. When Floyd Mayweather fought in 2015, the queen escorted him to the arena (via A Little Bit Human). According to Paulick Report, in 2018, the King made another “personal” appearance at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.
According to PennLive, he was the subject of a social media post as recently as the year 2020. These days, seeing a Burger King in the wild isn’t all that unusual; however, we understand if the thought of eating at a fast food chain gives you the creeps.
Burgers Served In Restaurants Rely Heavily On Patty Size
Let’s ignore the fact that people have varying preferences when it comes to condiments and other additions. Simply ordering a burger at a different restaurant can result in a very different experience.
Restaurant hamburgers are typically either smashed thin with crispy edges or plump, tender and charred, as reported by The New York Times. Therefore, the chef must precisely measure the patty in accordance with the version the restaurant intends to serve.
Diner-style thin patties typically weigh between 3 and 4 ounces when raw, which results in a thicker cooked burger. The pub-style, the thicker burger is typically 7 to 8 ounces in size before cooking.
On the other hand, don’t some eateries offer burgers that are described as “monster-size”? However, New York City chef and owner of National Bar and Dining Rooms Geoffrey Zakarian told The New York Times, “The inside of the burger needs to be heated. You’re not looking for a giant, raw meatloaf.” Burgers weighing more than half a pound, he said, can be risky.
There’s a common belief that burgers can only be cooked properly on a barbecue grill. A flat-top grill or griddle is likely to be used in the preparation of burgers at your favorite restaurant. However, that’s not the only thing that could be in a commercial kitchen’s burger-making arsenal.
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