The 20-second advertisement for Burger King's signature sandwich, the Whopper.
Leading Russian television stations have refused to air the full version of a Burger King ad that appears to pitch the fast food chain’s product as an alternative to opiates.
The TV clip with the slogan “The time of poppies is over!” starts with a picture of a cheeseburger falling on a poppy flower. The voice-over in the clip explains, “This is a poppy. It was popular once, but now it’s time has passed,” before going on to praise the burger’s ingredients.
In a play on words, poppy translated into Russian is mak, a name that has become synonymous with Burger King’s rival McDonald’s.
The poppy flower is an analogy of a bad habit, Burger King Russia’s marketing director Ivan Shestov wrote in a company statement released Wednesday. The burger is then presented as an alternative to this bad habit.
The channels TNT, CTC, Rossia 2, NTV and Perets have refused to show the full ad, arguing that it contradicts their editorial policy, Lenta.ru reported. They will instead show a revised version.
REN-TV, 2x2 and Disney have decided to run the full clip.
Burger King opened its first Russian restaurant in January 2010 and now has 115 restaurants in major cities across the country. The franchiser Burger King Rus plans to open several hundred more restaurants over the next few years.