Burger King apologizes after commercial featuring chopsticks drew criticism

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Burger King apologizes after commercial featuring chopsticks drew criticism

Maria Mo, a Korean-New Zealander, described the ad as "Orientalism".

The ad played on widespread Asian stereotypes, Ms Mo said, "as though their thought process went, 'what's Asian?" Last month, the ad was removed from TV after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled it "enticing people to overeat" because it finished by saying "Just need another three".

The ad, which only aired in New Zealand, features customers failing to eat the sandwich, the Vietnamese Sweet Chili Tendercrisp, with large chopsticks.

"We have asked our franchise in New Zealand to remove the ad immediately", the statement read. A spokesperson said the advert was insensitive and did not reflect the company's brand values of inclusion and diversity.

"Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City with our Vietnamese Sweet Chili Tendercrisp", reads the ad. "I was watching it thinking there must be some kind of layered twist ― only to realise, no, there was no twist, it really was that base level". Like Burger King, the brand removed its own controversial ad after it sparked backlash on social media.

Burger King entered the Vietnamese market in 2011, but has struggled to win over local consumers.

The ad was pulled from television, however, it was still being promoted on social media, including on Burger King's Facebook page - though it has since been removed - and as a sponsored post on Instagram, which is where Mo viewed it.

In her tweets, Mo wrote of the importance to "say no" to every manifestation of racism, from "the kind that makes fun of different cultures, to the kind that shoots and murders those peacefully praying in their place of worship". She could not believe anyone would run such an ad in 2019 or that it could be approved by a company as dominant as Burger King.

In a similar episode a year ago, Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana ran an ad in China depicting a Chinese model unsuccessfully trying to eat large portions of Italian food with a pair of chopsticks.

While others, drew reference to a now-famous 2018 Dolce and Gabbana advertisement which showed an Asian model attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks.

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