Thursday, September 1, 2011

Should Burger King Have Endorsed Anderson Silva?

I am not an MMA expert but do occasionally watch the pay-per-views; most recently I watched UFC 134, which took place in Brazil--home to some of the greatest mix martial artists in the world including current UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. No surprise, Anderson Silva won the fight and defended his title.

I have no complaints about the actual fight or outcome, but my biggest qualm about the Silva fight happened in the first minutes when he entered the octagon and very prominently across his left thigh was a giant Burger King Logo to accompany the giant Burger King logo on his banner behind him and the giant Burger King logo beneath him on the octagon floor. This is the first time I have seen the fast food chain represented during a UFC fight, and to be honest, I was a little upset.

The same week, Silva premiered two TV spots for Burger King promoting the "Mega BK Stacker"--a three patty bacon cheeseburger the size of my face. The spots aired in Brazil, I think, but haven't made it to the States. While blog posts and YouTube comments for the new spots are mostly positive... I still can't forgive Burger King for pitching the partnership to Silva. I regard MMA as a sport that requires discipline and strict training, especially when it comes to staying fit and cutting weight--and no where does that align with the values of fast food. There are other sponsors like Bud Light and Energy Drinks that don't align with the MMA lifestyle--but somehow I find Burger King's step into the UFC space more offensive and inappropriate, as if Burger King just sold-out the sport like it was NASCAR or something. Just another opportunity to raise awareness among growth consumers--a perfect opportunity to sell more burgers. Period.

UFC fans are very loyal to the sport and I think Burger King is taking advantage of that loyalty. My point is obesity is a very real problem and brands, especially fast food chains, and even Athletes and Celebrities need to consider the effects of their partnership beyond just sales. Strangely, I don't find Paris Hilton, Kim Kardahsian or Audrina Partridge's Carl's Jr. ads offensive so maybe I'm just taking this Burger King/Silva thing too seriously? What do you think.

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