how’s everyone feeling?
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) April 30, 2019
Apparently, Burger King now cares about our collective sadness — in particular Gen Z. That’s noble, for sure. Yet in an attempt to concurrently connect with this savvy and knowledgeable demographic, they’ve loosely draped a veil of concern over mental health awareness in their recent “Real Meals” campaign. And frankly, as the brand notes, “partnering with Mental Health America on the campaign” during Mental Health Awareness Month, is a charitable notion that sadly gets muddled in Burger King’s attempts to use meme culture depression to sell us burgers.
These “Real Meals” are an alternative to McDonald’s iconic Happy Meals and claim to represent other, more complex emotions that many of us seem to be feeling these days. So yes everybody, Burger King must clearly feel our pain by serving up five different Real Meals that consist of the followings moods: Salty, Yasss, DGAF, Blue, and Pissed. Because we all know that a dry Whopper is the real solution to our deep-seated problems. But let me backtrack some – since when were (reads again) Yasss and Salty, moods that tied to mental health issues?
Accompanying this tone deaf campaign is a commercial depicting young folks in various states of dejection and expressing their varied blahs and melancholy over very real and valid modern dilemmas such as being ghosted, bullying, and student loan debt. But don’t worry, The King is offering comfort with a burger and fries in hand.
What’s more concerning is the fact that there hasn’t been any indication that sales from these Real Meals will go towards non-profits and advocacy groups in support of mental health awareness and treatment. The fact that Burger King is hinging on mental health advocacy to slang their burgers is cringe-worthy at the very least and disingenuous all around.
So to all the disenchanted, unhappy, broke, cynical, and devastated young people of today, it’s time to rejoice — relief is coming in the form of a Burger King combo.