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Whopper Virgins

Whopper Virgin 1

Advertising executives must be creaming their jeans. It used to be that when commercials came on TV you would go get a snack in the kitchen or check out another channel– despite the major networks’ attempts to synchronize their schedules basic cable would run their ads at different times. With the advent of Tivo many people might have thought the jig was up, but advertising on the internet has become more sophisticated and cunning. Ah, glory days of the past before banner ads, pop-ups and bitverps when you could stroll free down the information superhighway and look at porn without being assailed by billboards.

As potential consumers adapt to ignoring new varieties of advertising the methods of selling ideas have had to change. Obviously the best manner of doing so is by presenting ads as something other than what they are. When I was growing up I would periodically stay with my grandparents who refused to let cartoons run rampant on the screen. Why? Because they’re half hour commercials for toys, and you should go play outside anyways.

Somewhere in between the blatant and sublime new techniques for advertisements to appeal to increasingly factionalized demographic groups have been developed. American Apparel didn’t grow into the incredibly popular brand that it has because of socially popular business practices but because they figured out that reintroducing re-tread fashion concepts and washed out pornography techniques would appeal to their upwardly mobile but irony-for-fun audience. Target re-branded itself with yesterday’s hot indie-rock acts and a distance from its roots as a K-Mart styled big-box chain. Now Burger King is attempting to captivate audiences with a documentary approach to selling burgers with their Whopper Virgins movie.

Whopper Virgins 2

According to the internet Stacy Peralta, who broke into Hollywood with Dogtown and Z-Boys, was tapped to use the vast resources of the international entity including their fleet of private jets, helicopters, and marketing budget to travel the globe seeking out isolated populations who have never enjoyed our most famous dish of American cuisine. Which is better, these anthropological artifacts will be asked, the Whopper or the Big Mac? Actually I find it hard to fathom that there actually is a documentary gearing up for airing, rather a pre-movie buzz has been created for a couple half minute spots that will subvert the guerillaesque style we now associate with documentaries.

I’m not as concerned with the cultural hegemony of seeking out new populations and insisting they cram processed meat and chemical flavoring down their gullets as Kate at Toxic Culture seems to be, nor do I think that the Inuit or rural Romanians will soon find their rates of obesity skyrocketing due to saturated fats. I’m not even bothered by the further co-opting of culture in the name of the almighty dollar. What’s shocking to me is that it’s still worth investing gross amounts of money to sell people gross fast food, and what’s worse is that this will probably work.

  1. kate
    December 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    That is an excellent point. How can we still be going around on this ride?

  2. blaark
    December 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    It doesn’t make sense to me and obviously to you either but until the majority of people turn their backs on the glint of advertising vast amounts of resources will disappear into the dream machine. My friend Anne Moore wrote a book called Unmarketable, and I know there are other media/marketing critiques out there, but people have to be willing to investigate their desires and the decisions based upon them. Compulsory education for children to be aware of marketing techniques? Electroshock therapy linked to credit card use? At least the potential for worldwide catastrophe exists as a final lesson no one can ignore, but it would be nice if people got together and recognized their place in that danger before we were all swimming in salt water.

  3. j.
    December 2, 2008 at 2:14 am

    The BK by my work is staffed by juggalos and you can buy heroin in their parking lot. One week they had three ambulance calls, the last of which ended in an old dude being carried out on a stretcher. We send job-seekers over there when we’re out of applications. I still think BK’s most odious contribution to western culture is that hamburger that has a third bun inserted in the center of it. That shit is totally fucked up.

  4. blaark
    December 2, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I thought that McDonald’s was king of the third bun burger– isn’t that the defining feature of a Big Mac?

    Anyways, you’ve made me excited about a possible visit to Arizona so that I might see the legendary juggalo running free and in packs as opposed to those cage-raised broken-spirits you see here being led by embarrassed parents or being intimidated on the street. This heroin proximity makes good sense, all they need is a cigarette vending machine and maybe some Colt 45 on tap and you’re good to go.

    Have you noticed any dismissed job-seekers taking employment across the way?

  5. j.
    December 3, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Today I met my first obviously gay juggalo. He tried to shoplift the new Psychopathic Records dvd and this little purse thing that we sell. At first he refused to lift up his shirt because he claimed to be embarassed about stretch marks.

    Here’s an article/apologetic about juggalo culture in the desert. When alien anthropolgists do a history of our planet, they’ll talk about how the movie Over the Edge anticipates jugallo-dom.

  6. blaark
    December 3, 2008 at 8:14 am

    I’ll have to read the Phoenix New Times article at work but obviously I’m excited as all hell…

    Considering the wealth of juggalo activity in your area I think you have an obligation to better document their behaviors; you’re in a very unique position working at a record store… Nothing fancy, I’m not talking Whopper Virgins style production, maybe just some hidden webcams and a website that’s updated periodically…

    Somewhere sometime someone will get a Master’s for their dissertation on Juggalo culture… And the world loses…

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