Burger King's culture war risk

Did you really think this through?

There’s stupid, and then there’s Burger King stupid.

I guess with the progression of age, things that would have amused me before, just based on the absolute absurdity, now annoy me to no end – also based on the absolute absurdity. The so-dubbed “chicken sandwich wars” have brought me to that place.

I guess I should start by giving a brief summary of the yard fowl fray, of which I speak.

For starters, it’s all about fast food. While nearly every fast food burger outlet has some version of a chicken sandwich on the menu, it is Chik-Fil-A that sits (arguably) at the apex of chicken sandwich domination. In fact, I’d say that if you asked most people where to get the best chicken sandwich, some conversation will ensue, where not only are the various delicious menu items of Chik-Fil-A discussed, but also, the courteous and prompt service, which tends to make them a top favorite among fast food fans.

Because they’re actually fast.

Lately, however, other fast food outlets have jumped on board, offering what they hope to be a rival to the classic Chik-Fil-A sandwich.

Popeyes seems to offer a worthy contender to the throne, although, I’ve yet to try one for myself.

McDonald’s has rehabbed their chicken sandwich. Kentucky Fried Chicken – you would think them to be the most obvious contenders – have introduced their own version, to mixed reviews.

Then there’s Burger King, and their media push to promote their new Ch’King sandwich.

It’s a clever name, I suppose, but it’ll take more than a clever name to best Chik-Fil-A.

If you can’t beat them in quality and service, you’d better have a good gimmick. In the case of Burger King, they’ve decided to target the demographic already least likely to frequent Chik-Fil-A, anyway – the LGBTQ community.

Chik-Fil-A, other than their wonderful food, also have the distinction of being a Christian-based business, supportive and outspoken in favor of traditional marriage. Something about a business holding to their beliefs – especially if those beliefs are Christian – seems to really rub the left raw.

Back in 2012, the sodomy-set targeted the chain around the nation, with boycotts and protests. In return, Chik-Fil-A supporters turned out and gave the company a record setting day.

Talk about a boycott backfire!

So nearly a decade after that event, has public perception changed? Are Christians and conservatives still willing to choose sides and wade into battle?

In the grand scheme of things, it could probably be considered a minor, silly thing. We’re talking about chicken sandwiches, not the fate of the universe. That being said, in their attempt to make waves and distinguish themselves from every other chicken-slinger in the whole quiver of would-be conquerors, Burger King chose a side and made it personal.

They went after the faith foundation of Chik-Fil-A, and whether they intended to or not, they went after the beliefs of every consumer who also supports traditional marriage.

On June 3, the Burger King Twitter account noted that they will “celebrate” the LGBTQ “Pride” month by donating 40 cents of every Ch’King sandwich sold to the Human Rights Campaign, an organization dedicated to promoting the LGBTQ agenda.

That particular dig about Sundays is in reference to the fact that Chik-Fil-A honors Sundays, for families who recognize it as the Sabbath, time for rest, worship, and family.

Of course, the fine print is that Burger King is only going to donate that 40 cents up to $250,000. They’re a big company and they’ve been in business awhile. If they just wanted to donate $250,000, they could do that today and be done with it.

They could, of course, but then what would be their marketing hook to draw in the LGBTQ rubes?

It’s a risky move on the part of Burger King. They publicly go after the real king of chicken sandwiches, targeting a group that may not have any considerable impact on Chik-Fil-A’s bottom line. Simultaneously, they chance alienating part of their own customer base, by taking a side in a hot button culture war issue.

I’m going to go ahead and say the end results will not go in Burger King’s favor. I could be wrong, but I feel this open show of mockery for traditional marriage and Christian principles might not reap the benefits they’re counting on.

You’re a fast food joint, BK. Just do fast food.