One San Francisco Burger King location is celebrating the city's Pride Week with a temporary menu item: the "Proud Whopper." It's wrapped in rainbow-colored paper, but on the inside — it's a regular Whopper.
The wrapper's message: "We are all the same inside," Time
Burger King helped sponsor the 44th San Francisco’s Pride Celebration & Parade and a gay pride parade in New York recently.
"As a brand, we welcome everyone," Fernando Machado, Burger King’s senior vice president for global brand management, told Time. "We felt that [the Proud Whopper] could bring to life a message of equality, self-expression, authenticity, and just being who you are."
Machado denies that Burger King’s pro-gay initiative is an attempt to duck the controversy that embroiled Chick-fil-A in 2012 after the chain’s Christian CEO Dan Cathy made disparaging remarks about gay marriage, leading to "kiss-in" protests at his stores.
"Frankly, we were not concerned about benchmarking ourselves compared to other brands," Machado said. "We were much more concerned to do what was right for our brand."
In May, Burger King took another bold step – changing 40-year-old slogan, "Have It Your Way," originally adopted to set BK apart from McDonald's, to "Be Your Way," which Machado sees as much more inclusive.
"I hope when they see what we’re trying to do here, people will galvanize around this message of equality. It shows how we, as a brand, believe in self-expression."
For the Proud Whopper promotion, Burger King distributed 70,000 of its trademark crowns in rainbow colors and videotaped customers’ happy reactions. The $4.29 price of the burger will be donated to Burger King’s McLamore Foundation, to provide scholarships to LGBT high school seniors headed for college.
Witeck-Combs Communications and Packaged Facts estimates that gay consumers spent $743 billion in 2010, with many LGBT consumers more likely to spend that money at businesses that cater and market to them.
Jordan Bach, a gay rights corporate consultant, told USA Today,
"Whenever a company comes out in support of gay people, it makes a difference."
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