Burger King Urges You to Abandon Your Friends for Whoppers
I have to say, I wish Burger King's food was better. Because their marketing department is evidently full of interesting people who, unlike other companies who balk at any controversy whatsoever, simply do not care whose feelings get hurt.
Burger King has announced the implementation of the Whopper Sacrifice promotion, which is an application you add to your Facebook profile. Once you've added it, for every ten friends you delete, you get a free Whopper.
If I liked Whoppers more, I'd call it "deliciously evil," but let's face it, I couldn't honestly give it more than "passably, somewhat blandly evil."
Looking through my own Facebook account, I see a bunch of people I knew in high school who could go... not old friends, mind you, mostly friends-of-friends or other people to whom I wish no specific harm... come to think of it, I do see a couple of people who I genuinely do not like... then there's a bunch of people who I hung out with for six weeks in summer of 2006 during a school-related trip to Spain and then never saw / spoke to again... and...
Hey, how about that. I have exactly ten people on my Facebook who I have no connection to whatsoever. I literally do not know who the hell these people are, never having met them, talked to them, or even exchanged messages with them. They could be part of a creepy religious cult for all I know. I could easily bargain them away for a Whopper and feel nary a guilty pang.
Burger King is, quite cannily, counting on most people to have a problem like mine. Clearly the people behind the promotion noticed the abundance of chaff one is likely to accumulate over any period of time spent as a member of a social networking site, and came up with a fairly ingenious way to capitalize on that. It's not hard to imagine the inevitable grousing from the overly sensitive, militantly P.C., and other lily-livered sects who complain anytime anything is even remotely mean, but such complaints will be easy to head off at the pass. Burger King isn't asking you to give up real friends, just virtual ones. People who won't even notice they've been defriended until they add the Whopper Sacrifice application. Oh yes: the application does notify everyone you defriend that he or she has been cast to the four winds over a mediocre hamburger. Huh. Maybe that is overdoing it a little...
Nahhh. People will get over it, especially if you tell them you're poor. Come to think of it, what's to stop you from warning ten friends in advance, defriending them, obtaining your Whopper, and then re-friending them? Nothing, as far as I know, although I have yet to install the application. I bet, however, this is the first thing a lot of people will figure out.
After all, if there's anything that works up an appetite, it's a well-executed double-cross.
-- John S. Gray