The Whopper Virgins Mini Doc

No agency in America gets content’s role in building brands better than Crispin Porter & Bogusky. I’ve said it before, and I know I’ll be compelled (by the agency’s work) to say it again.
Bonus Link: Our previous entry about this story.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I’m torn. CP+B is brilliant. And they continue to make their mark in advertising history. But with these ads, I can’t help but feel like these poor people are being exploited. Besides, they’ve just been introduced to something that’s made the Western world overweight and unhealthy. And that can’t be a good thing.
    Like I said…torn.

  2. Spike,
    This is one of those times when I look at all the criticism coming from Barbara Lippert and others, and shake my head in wonderment. Everyone’s sooooooooo serious. “Lighten up, Francis.” Personally, I’d love to work on an assignment like this.
    As for the exploitation charge, I’m not there. Maybe I’m unenlightened, but I don’t believe “the natives” entered into this campaign against their will. And it’s not like these folks will be chowing flame-broiled meat frisbees from here on. The guy at the end says it perfectly–he likes seal meat better.

  3. i agree, david. i like to hate on CP+B’s occasional — albeit completely confident, balls-out — missteps as much as the next guy, but this is right on. for god’s sake, it’s not a hunger relief mission. it’s an AD CAMPAIGN based on the genius idea of finding the most untainted taste test subjects possible.

  4. Carl LaFong says:

    While I may not agree with the criticism of the Whopper Virgins campaign, I can certainly understand it. No matter how deftly done or sensitively handled it is, there is a troubling subtext that, given the West’s historical exploitation of poorer, less powerful peoples let alone our own nation’s cultural and dietary imperialism, is all but unavoidable. As much I as like it — it’s almost as brilliant as last year’s Whopper Freakout — I was uneasy when I first heard about it.
    One thing the critics overlook is that the people in the commercial are not childlike primitives who are incapable of making decisions on their own. Just because they dress and speak differently than us doesn’t mean that we know what’s better for them than they do. That paternalistic attitude is, in its own well-meaning way, not offensive, but downright dangerous.
    Having said that, a small part of me wonders: Is it possible to go too far with a campaign like this? What if Burger King did a taste test in a country suffering from wide-spread famine like, say, Somalia or North Korea? Would we have a problem with it then? In my vast and regrettable ignorance of the world around me, I have no idea what the daily diet of the people featured in the commercials consists of. Do they suffer from endemic poverty and starvation? Or am I guilty of making such an assumption because they are “different?”
    Here’s another thing I can’t figure out: How come Crispin does such terrific work for Burger King but the stuff they do for Domino’s sucks ass?

  5. There’s a funny blog on on the Whopper Virgins commercial.
    It ties it into Noam Chomsky and how the indigenous people on the commercials will most likely be forced to move to big cities when the fast food chains move in, and have to work for Burger King for a tenth of what American’s make.
    Check it out here: