Burger King's online ad campaign riles Belgian royal family

BRUSSELS • The Belgian royal family has rapped Burger King after an online advertising campaign appeared to suggest that a new "king" be chosen for the European nation.

The offending advertisement - in French and Dutch on the website whoistheking.be - asks users to pick between "King Philippe" and the "Burger King".

Those who choose Philippe - represented by a cartoon image that bears little resemblance to the real monarch - are asked: "Are you sure you want to elect King Philippe? He won't be the one to cook your fries." The real-life Belgian monarch is King Philippe.

The royal family was not amused. "We disapprove of this approach," said royal spokesman Pierre Emmanuel de Bauw last Saturday, adding that the monarchy had contacted the burger chain over the ad.

"The use of the King's image is subject to authorisation," he said.

"In this particular case, we received no requests. Since it is for commercial purposes, we would not have given our authorisation."

The Bertrand group, Burger King's majority shareholder, bought French fast-food rival Quick in 2015 and has steadily re-branded Quick outlets in France. But the deal maintained the Quick brand in Belgium, Luxembourg and outside of Europe.

It is now being partially phased out, with Burger King set to open its first Belgian outlet next month in the northern port city of Antwerp.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Burger King's online ad campaign riles Belgian royal family'. Print Edition | Subscribe