Burger King is coming for McDonald’s yet again! In a series of new ads, the fast food chain is taking aim at its chief rival’s mascot, Ronald McDonald, by stoking people’s fear of clowns.
The trio of ads, created by Spanish agency LOLA MullenLowe, each feature a picture of a terrified child being held by a colorful clown at their respective birthday parties. Below each of the sepia tone photos is the Burger King logo and text that reads, “Birthdays should be happy.”
The ads, which were first released earlier this month, also state: “Come to Burger King and book a clown-free party.”
Even though McDonald’s is never mentioned, and none of the clowns pictured are the chain’s fictional spokesperson, it’s not hard to see that the home of the Whopper is trolling the Golden Arches, which just so happens to be the most successful fast-food chain in the world.
According to LOLA MullenLowe, the “Birthdays Should be Happy” campaign is designed to advise parents and relatives everywhere to make the right decision when choosing a party location. As the agency puts it: “It´s much better to see your child smiling with a King Jr. meal in his hands than crying on her special day.”
Though the clown-centric ads first appeared in print publications in Mexico, they have quickly gained traction around the world thanks to feedback on Facebook and Twitter.
“This new Burger King campaign with the clowns is genius,” wrote one tickled Twitter user. “My memories of going to McDonalds for a birthday was ruined by Ronald McDonald, despised clowns ever since. This was the 80s, 3 decades of disdain.”
Not surprisingly, Burger King is pleased with the ads and the response they have been getting. “Burger King knows that birthdays are a very big deal for kids and we believe they should be fun and clown-free,” said Marcelo Pascoa, head of global marketing for the Miami-based company. “We prefer to be on the good side of children’s memories not the scary ones, like the traumatized kids in these ads.”
These ads mark the second time in as many weeks that Burger King has fired shots at its biggest competitor. Earlier this month, BK announced the debut of its line of “Unhappy Meals” in partnership with Mental Health America during the month of May. Those menu items, which come in “Pissed” and “Blue” varieties, take direct aim at McDonald’s ever-popular Happy Meals. You’re move, McD’s!
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