Burger King is getting salty with McDonalds in the name of mental-health awareness — and some people are finding it hard to swallow.
The fast-food chain, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International
, is marking Mental Health Month in May by rolling out boxed value meals that strongly resemble its competitor’s iconic Happy Meals — but named after a range of less cheerful human emotions.
The colorful sentiments that Burger King’s “Real Meals” embody include: the “Pissed Meal” (for when you’re hangry); the “Yaaas Meal” (for when you’re extremely excited); the “DGAF Meal” (when you don’t give a f—); the “Salty Meal” (when you’re sassy or combative) and the “Blue Meal” (when you’re feeling sad).
not sure who needed to hear this today, but it’s ok not to be happy all the time. all that matters is that you #FeelYourWay. https://t.co/vPmy1sT0cC pic.twitter.com/XmF0GvMjCg
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) May 1, 2019
The Real Meals are available while supplies last in select Austin, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles and New York City locations. Each box features a different Whopper and fries combo. (Alas, since they’re targeted to adults, they don’t come with a toy like McDonalds’
signature Happy Meals.)
See: Burger King to take meatless ‘Impossible Whopper’ national later this year
Burger King has partnered with Mental Health America, a community-based non-profit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promote mental health. The campaign rolled out on Wednesday with a short video on social media that shows people admitting that they sometimes feel sad, scared and “crappy.” It commemorates the classic “Have It Your Way” song from the 1970s Burger King commercials with men and women laying down less cheerful rhymes such as, “I can’t believe my student loan/I’m never moving out of my parents’ home.”
Some people celebrated Burger King and Mental Health America for relieving the constant pressure to always be happy, as well as helping to de-stigmatize mental illness. Positive comments under Burger King’s social media posts include, “Thank you Burger King. Very cool,” and “Take my money.”
See: Burger King parent Restaurant Brands stock sinks after profit misses expectations, sales were in line
But others complained about Burger King using depression as a marketing tool. Or they were cynical about the sincerity of the campaign.
Millions of marketing dollars went into making you feel good about feeling bad so you could enjoy a whopper. #FeelYourWay
— Bridget Phetasy (@BridgetPhetasy) May 2, 2019
So I guess I want to ask @BurgerKing is what they’re doing for the mental health of their employees. Are they getting access to free/low-cost counseling? Is there healthcare? A living wage? A clear channel to report harassment? Paid sick leave? Or just boxes for the ‘gram? https://t.co/QyX8ilaf5k
— Kat Kinsman (@kittenwithawhip) May 2, 2019
why is Burger King telling me it’s OK to feel?
— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) May 2, 2019
Burger King did not immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment. Mental Health America president Paul Gionfriddo responded in a statement that, “While not everyone would think about pairing fast food and mental health, MHA believes in elevating the conversation in all communities in order to address mental illness Before Stage 4. By using its internationally-known reputation to discuss the importance of mental health, Burger King is bringing much-needed awareness to this important and critical discussion — and letting its customers know that it’s OK to not be OK.”
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