It’s your civic duty to take up semi-permanent residence on your sofa and eat fast food. Binge watching is optional.
This message doesn’t come from the White House or your local elected officials (and certainly not your doctor). It’s from Burger King, whose new spot puts a cheeky spin on the current shelter-in-place mandates and voluntary quarantine measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The brand has even coined a new term for those doing their part by staying in: “couch po-ta-triots.” Enjoy it, folks, because it could be the first and only time that any variation of the phrase “couch potato” will be used as a compliment.
In an odd bit of kismet, the campaign’s TV spot was actually compiled from footage that was shot before the COVID-19 pandemic but hadn’t aired. Despite being developed for another ad concept, the clips found a new life as illustrations of the “Stay Home of the Whopper” campaign.
“Your country needs you to stay on your couch and order in,” says the ad’s authoritative narrator. “Do your part. Staying home doesn’t just make us all safer, it makes you a couch po-ta-triot.”
Salutes all around!
“Stay Home of the Whopper,” from agency network FCB, tucks a number of pertinent messages, along with the pseudo-serious “thank you for your service” nationalism, into its 30-second spot and the surrounding effort.
While the ad’s primary message is that the brand will be waiving delivery fees on mobile app orders over $10, it also highlights that Burger King is giving away 250,000 free Whoppers to health-care workers and encouraging consumers to donate via text to the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund.
The ad uses the word “heroes” loosely and playfully, bestowing it on those “who are doing their part to save their community by having their food delivered directly to them instead of venturing outside.”
The new campaign comes on the heels of the recent build-it-yourself “Quarantine Whopper” from Paris agency Buzzman for Burger King France. While outlets there have been closed, the brand showed consumers how to make their own Whoppers at home using store-bought ingredients.
The footage for “Stay home of the Whopper” was shot last fall for the other campaign concept, but FCB execs decided to repurpose it during the current crisis, which has largely stalled filming and ad production globally.
“Staying on your couch has almost become an act of patriotism in these times, as well as a celebration of healthcare workers,” said Gabriel Schmitt, chief creative officer of FCB New York. “Coincidentally, the assets fit these premises perfectly.”
Ari Halper, creative partner at FCB North America, is credited with suggesting the linguistic mashup “couch po-ta-triot.”
Bonus trivia (for etymology buffs out there): The “couch potato” idiom dates back to the 1970s, the same era in which television was widely dubbed “the boob tube.” An artist in Southern California named Robert Armstrong created a cartoon strip called “The Couch Potatoes” about sedentary, junk food-addicted TV fans, intended as a poke in the eye to workout-obsessed Los Angelenos. Tagline, “Turn on, tune in, veg out.”
Though he trademarked the phrase “couch potato” in the late ’70s, it became so popular in mainstream media that courts eventually called it generic, making it fair game for everything from op-ed pieces to advertising.
Creative agency: FCB
Gabriel Schmitt, Chief Creative Officer
Ari Halper, Creative Partner, FCB North America
Fred Levron, Worldwide Creative Partner, FCB Global
Alex Sprouse, Associate Creative Director
Laszlo Szloboda, Associate Creative Director
Dani Karnik, Senior Copywriter
Waner Almeida, Senior Art Director
Adam Isidore, Director of Integrated Production, EVP
Kate Fixter, Senior Integrated Producer
Janice Katz, Director of Business Affairs
Jesse Morris, Senior Project Manager, Operations
Megan Bundy, Group Account Director, SVP
Sarah Tarner, Account Director