Burger King has launched a new campaign in time for Climate Week. 'Meltdown', pledges to scrap the plastic toys that have been a staple of a children's meal, and comes with its own revamped packaging design (opens in new tab), hats and logo.
In fact, the fast food giant is going even further and encouraging people to bring in their old plastic toys, which the company will then melt down to recycle into other items – hence 'Meltdown'. It's a fantastic cause that was borne out of a petition created by two schoolchildren.
So far, so good. But, there's a but. While we wholeheartedly applaud the King of Burgers for its ethical decision to ditch the plastic toys, we think the design team might have made a bit of a misstep with its choice of imagery.
The Amazon forest has been burning for weeks now, with no sign of slowing down. And a spotlight has been shone on Burger King, with claims that it is one of the companies buying soy feed from the area in Brazil suffering from deforestation. In fact, only today, Greenpeace activists have hung a banner on its flagship Leicester Square store (opens in new tab) in protest at its alleged buying habits.
Although Burger King denies culpability, this issue is very much at the forefront of public consciousness right now. So with all that in mind, we can't help but wonder if the 'meltdown' theme is the best PR choice for the company's new green policy.
The 'I joined the meltdown' label on its burgers is particularly close to the bone, and leaves itself open to parody from critics – when looking at it from that point of view, it could insinuate that by buying Burger King products you're joining the meltdown of the Amazon. And the burning plastic bunny (one of the toys previously sold at BK) is a great representation of the campaign, but some might say it's a little too visually reminiscent of what's actually happening to animals in the Amazon right now.
Perhaps we are being unfair. After all, it is a truly great thing that BK is doing with its plastic amnesty, and one that should be replicated across the industry. But we are surprised that no-one at the branding meetings saw the parallels with a current headline issue that's incredibly close to the industry, let alone one that Burger King has been connected to in the press.