Burger King Austria 'top and bottom' bun Pride-themed Whopper burgers castigated online, ad agency apologises

Burger King Austria Pride Whoppers
The limited-edition Pride Whoppers have been a bit of a flop. Photo credit: Burger King Austria / Instagram

It's Pride Month, a beautiful time of the year to celebrate our diverse and colourful LGBTQIA friends and whānau - but it's fair to say some attempts to strike a chord with the rainbow community have been pretty tone-deaf.

One such blunder was made by Burger King's franchise in Austria, which is currently under fire for introducing a limited-edition 'Pride Whopper' burger to its menu that aims to represent "equal rights and equal love".

Yes, it all sounds like sunshine and rainbows - but in celebration of equal love and equal rights, Burger King decided the Pride Whopper would be served with either two sesame top buns or two bottom buns. 

To spell it out, the traditional Whopper filling is either sandwiched between two of the classic, sesame-sprinkled 'top' buns, or two of the typically flatter 'bottom' buns. 

"The Pride Whopper, with two equal buns for equal love and equal rights," Burger King Austria said on its social media. "We set an example for the equality of all identities and sexual orientations. A little twist meant to put a smile on our faces and remind us to treat each other with respect and peace. No matter who you are and who you love. #TimeToBeProud."

The Pride Whopper is available at Austria's Burger King branches until June 20. 

It's currently unclear if the innuendo was an intentional move by the advertising agency, which has since apologised for the misguided campaign after the burger was widely criticised and mocked on social media. The advertisement has also faced several accusations of 'rainbow-washing', a term which refers to businesses that outwardly show their support for LGBTQIA people through their advertising, but don't actually contribute to the community in any meaningful ways. 

The Austrian branch of German advertising agency Jung von Matt shared a statement on LinkedIn admitting that the team had "messed up". 

"We've heard your voices and listened carefully," the agency said. "We are proud of our queer community within our agency. Unfortunately, we still messed up and didn't check well enough with community members on different interpretations of the Pride Whopper. That's on us.

"The intended message of the Pride Whopper was to spread equal love and equal rights. Our strongest concern is if we offended members of the LGBTQ community with this campaign. If this is the case, we truly apologise.

"We've learned our lessons and will include experts on communicating with the LGBTQ community for future work as promoting equal love and equal rights will still be a priority for us."

Among the criticisms were scathing comments that castigated the agency and Burger King for its ill-considered campaign, with one person tweeting: "Burger King Austria made a burger to celebrate Pride Month that's either two tops or two bottoms.

"But, much like being in a gay relationship, it is really helpful to have one top and one bottom."

Another said: "I am convinced whoever is in charge at Burger King does not know how gay sex works."

A third weighed in: "Burger King Austria made a Pride burger that's either two tops or two bottoms… what in straight hell?"

A number of people have asked whether Burger King was planning to donate any of the profits from the limited-edition burger to LGBTQIA charities, to which the company responded: "We are official partners of Vienna Pride and support the LGBTQIA community."