Burger King in NZ removes 'offensive' Vietnamese chopsticks advertisement

Andrew Cummings
April 11, 2019

Burger King has since taken down the advert and apologised.

The ad itself shows customers eating a new "Vietnamese Sweet Chili Tender Crisp Burger" with enormous oversized chopsticks.

The advertisement, which featuring diners trying to eat a new Vietnamese-inspired burger with chopsticks, was blasted as racist. They said the fast food behemoth "had made a mockery of Asian customs and dining etiquette". "The ad in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand values regarding diversity and inclusion", the spokeswoman said in a statement.

Of course, not everyone was offended by it, and many Twitter users found the whole ordeal confusing. It also speaks to social media's increasing effectiveness in policing such missteps.

The ad was pulled from television, however, it was still being promoted on social media, including on Burger King's Facebook page - though it has since been removed - and as a sponsored post on Instagram, which is where Mo viewed it.

Mo, a student at the University of Waikato, told HuffPost she chose to post the video because she was shocked to see it appear on her Instagram feed in the first place.

This is not the first time brands have been called out for being culturally insensitive when using chopsticks in marketing campaigns.

Burger King has apologized for and removed a social media ad following widespread criticism that it was offensive to Asians.

Maria Mo, a Korean New Zealander and student at the University of Waikato, tweeted her shock after viewing the advertisement.

Others criticised the complaint saying they "don't find Burger King's ad to be remotely "racist". Chopsticks!' and just ran with it without giving a single thought to what kind of messages could be inferred by their customer base", she added.

"Last year Dolce and Gabbana cancelled its Shanghai fashion show amid similar accusations of racism after posting videos of a Chinese model eating Italian foods like pizza and pasta with chopsticks".

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