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Burger King debuts 'Proud Whopper' to support LGBT rights

Burger King sold a 'Proud Whopper' during the annual San Francisco Pride Parade Sunday. Burger King's 'Proud Whopper' is wrapped in rainbow colors, with the message 'We are all the same inside' on the wrapper's interior.

Burger King/AP
The Proud Whopper. Once opened up, a message inside the wrapper states, “We are all the same inside.”

Burger King Corp. steps up and boldly defines its new “Be Your Way” tagline in an unexpected way on July 2 when it releases a short film in support of equality.

During the 44th  Annual San Francisco Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29, the Burger King at 1200 Market Street on the parade route offered a special “Proud Whopper” wrapped in the rainbow colors of the gay-rights movement. Inside, diners found a regular Whopper burger with the message “We are all the same inside” inscribed on the wrapper’s interior.

The short film made in and around the Market Street store captures the reactions of some who ordered a Proud Whopper as well as some who didn’t. One man says, “If that’s what they’re going to do, they won’t be having my business anymore.” But others clearly are moved by Burger King’s stand.

In an interview with BurgerBusiness.com, Burger King SVP-Global Brand Management Fernando Machado acknowledged that some BK customers might not like the Proud Whopper initiative. “But I am more excited that we are making this statement in support of self-expression,” he said. “I would like to believe we are uniting people behind this message that I hope all can support.

“This is exactly what ‘Be Your Way’ means,” Machado added. “When we first introduced it, I said that it expressed how Burger King welcomes everyone to our stores. [The Proud Whopper] elevates that message and makes it more meaningful, I believe.”

The initiative resulted from San Francisco operators’ “desire to be part of an important local event, as we are everywhere,” said Machado. The Proud Whopper was locally relevant “but we wanted to go beyond that, beyond just one city, to create a film that can be for everyone,” he said. The chain will be looking for additional  ways to “embody the spirit of the ‘Be Your Way’ attitude,” he said.

The Proud Whopper sandwich will continue to be sold at the Market Street unit at $4.29 through July 3. All proceeds from the sandwich sales will go to the chain’s Burger King McLamore Foundation (named for founder Jim McLamore), designated for scholarships benefiting LGBT college-bound high school seniors graduating in spring 2015.

The Proud Whopper film can be seen at youtube.com/BurgerKing beginning July 2. David, named Burger King’s global ad agency in April, created the film.

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