Food

Burger King Is Building Artificial Limbs So That Disabled People Can Eat Their Unhealthy Burgers

BK's new cholesterol-laden monstrosity is five beef patties layered with bacon and cheese.

Burger King claims to serve more than 11 million guests per day in 91 countries and territories around the world.
Photo Credit: testing/Shutterstock

Over the years fast-food outlets have employed a myriad of tactics to tempt new customers. There have been the classics like McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, or Subway’s Five Dollar Footlong (R.I.P.). That’s not to mention cholesterol-filled gimmicks like the chicken-on-chicken monstrosity that was the KFC Double Down burger and Taco Bell’s answer to breakfast food, the waffle taco. But all of these pale in comparison to the latest marketing shtick courtesy of Burger King Argentina: free prosthetic hands to disabled customers.

You read that correctly. As a way to promote its new Stacker Atomic 5.0 burger last month, branches of the popular fast-food chain across Argentina *cough* handed out 1,000 prosthetic limbs to customers lacking appendages who purchased the meals. For this promotion—which formed part of an annual event nicknamed Stacker Day—Burger King sold the meals at half-price, donating all of the money from the sales to Atomic Lab, the local startup responsible for producing the 3-D-printed prosthetics.

“Stacker Day is a big event in Argentina,” Ignacio Ferioli, a member of the agency responsible for the promotion, told AdWeek. “People queue for hours to get a burger. Sales keep growing year after year. We wondered if we could do something relevant that tied back to a huge burger that’s hard to handle,” Ferioli continued. Cue the clever promotional tie-in.

Ferioli doesn’t lie. The Stacker Atomic 5.0 is so named for the five beef patties interspersed with bacon and cheese that comprise its making. So yes, “hard to handle” is definitely one way to describe the burger. Another might be “nutritional nightmare.” Call it raining on their parade, but it’s hard not to find fault in a campaign that seeks to improve the lives of people living with a lost limb (in some cases likely due to type II diabetes), while pushing a mini mountain of meat and cheese. Irony much?

In Burger King’s defense, the promotion has had a notable impact. As AdWeek reports, thanks to the sales from Stacker Day, Atomic Lab was able to double the number of prosthetic limbs it had otherwise been able to donate for free over the past three years. This just goes to show the power of good branding, and the tempting prospect of devouring a burger the size of your head.

But here’s a thought. Burger King could simply stop selling the Stacker Atomic 5.0 and instead introduce a new, more health-conscious menu item that could perpetually provide a portion of the profits from its sales to Atomic Lab. Too idealistic? “People don’t go to Burger King for healthy food”; “It would cost too much to make.” Maybe these objections are true, but what if this suggestion actually brought a whole new customer base into the fold, and in fact didn’t cost as much as one might think?

What if instead of helping out a limited number of people with disabilities, the fast-food giant used its promotional power actually to create a product that not only paid lip service to its customer’s health needs, but actually put its money where our mouths are?

For a company that has built its empire on expanding waistlines and harming public health, that concept may really be "too hard to handle."
 

Robin Scher is a freelance writer from South Africa currently based in New York. He tweets infrequently @RobScherHimself.

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