As the world celebrated International Women’s Day last Monday, Burger King UK’s Twitter account was grilled on social media for tweeting that “Women belong in the kitchen,” an eye-catching statement meant to highlight gender disparity in the restaurant industry.
The tweet was the first in a subsequent thread that called out the lack of female chefs in the food and restaurant business. The ad, which originally ran in The New York Times on International Women’s Day, was intended to promote the fast-food chain’s scholarship program for female chefs to “pursue a culinary career.”
The campaign remains posted on the chain’s Instagram account, with the appropriate addendum that provided ample context.
Hours after posting the provocative tweet, Burger King UK deleted it and issued an apology in response to the wave of criticisms about the way they chose to draw attention. The chain was primarily called out for “using sexism as clickbait,” and during International Women’s Day no less.
In its apology, Burger King spokesperson Adrianna Lauricella explained that they intended not to include the full explanation in their initial tweet to draw more attention to their commitment to “helping women break through a male-dominated culinary culture.” However, for many, their action was too late.
One of the criticisms of the chain’s campaign pointed out that it was possible to include the explanation in the starting tweet given Twitter’s character limit.
Others emphasized the dangers of pandering to sexist and misogynist tropes to garner attention. For some, the initial tweet was enough to enable the dozens of men who have since hurled sexist statements to critics under the chain’s apology.
Did Burger King’s viral marketing strategy work for you?