Why Did Burger King Pull Its Ad of Mary J. Blige Singing About ‘Crispy’ Chicken?
Burger King customers looking to get their chicken snack wrap fix will have to do so without inspiration from singer Mary J. Blige.
The fast-food chain has pulled a new ad featuring the R&B songstress singing soulfully about crispy chicken — not, it claims, because of criticism of the spot, but because of a licensing issue.
“The Mary J. Blige advertisement was pulled off of the Burger King YouTube channel due to a music-licensing issue, which Burger King is in the process of resolving,” a company statement said, according to Ad Age. Details about the licensing issue were not disclosed.
A Burger King spokeswoman told the Associated Press the company hopes to have the Blige “ads back on the air soon,” though would not comment on whether they commercials would be the same.
The original ad featured Blige, dressed in leather and wearing sunglasses, singing about “crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing, wrapped up in a tasty flour tortilla.”
First posted online Monday, the spot prompted immediate backlash and criticism for being stereotypical.
Madame Noire, an online publication geared toward black women, called the ad “buffoonery” and said it was “beneath” Blige.
“Having a black woman sing about chicken was no mistake. They’re trying to reach the ‘urban’ (aka black) demographic and they used you,” an open letter on the site states. “Because God knows black folk won’t buy anything unless there’s a song, and preferably a dance, attached to it.”
An article in Clutch Magazine, described as an online magazine for black women, similarly stated, “The stereotype about black folks loving chicken is hundreds of years old, yet it seems more rampant in fast food advertising of the past few years than ever before.”
“We clearly have larger issues to worry about than the proliferation of old myths, but when a legitimate commercial seems to mirror itself after a spoof of its own subgenre, there’s a problem,” the article said.
Defending the ad, Burger King said Blige is part of “a diverse cast of A-list celebrities representing the many faces of the American melting pot…helping to promote our new menu items, including Garden Fresh Salads, Snack Wraps, Crispy Chicken Strips, Real Fruit Smoothies and Frappes.”
What do you think of the ad? Watch below and let us know in the comments.
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