A cheeky marketing ploy by a Brisbane burger chain has courted controversy with Australia Post declining to deliver 700,000 printed flyers for ‘ethical concerns’.
Burger Urge, which operates 22 restaurants across Queensland, has taken the decision to use current political tensions with North Korea as a means to market its new limited edition burger.
“We do a new ‘limited time only’ burger every eight weeks and this one happened to have Asian flavours. As we always like to have fun with our marketing strategies, we had a look at current events and how we could make a link,” co-founder Sean Carthew tells My Business.
“We’ve always been known to have a bit of fun with our marketing, and I think it’s something we will always retain as a brand. Entertainment in marketing is key,” adds Angela Chen, the company’s marketing manager.
The campaign features a burger called the “Kim Jong Yum”, and its ingredients are listed as including “ballistic pork belly, oppressive sweet potato crisps, explosive chilli mayo slaw” and “Kimmy J’s homemade honey soy.”
Posters for the burger, which are located in stores and in social media that have been printed on the flyers for local distribution, also feature an image of the North Korean leader riding a nuclear missile.
“With this particular campaign, it was never designed to offend anyone. The vast majority of the public have been able to see the humour behind it,” Ms Chen said.
However, the national postal service has failed to see the humour, asking Burger Urge to collect the flyers after deeming them not fit for distribution.
“Please be advised that it has been decided by Australia Post that we will not be able to proceed with delivery of the attached flyer,” Burger Urge quotes Australia Post as writing.
“This decision has been taken in accordance with the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics, which stipulates that material must accord with the following requirements:
• You must avoid portrayals of people or depictions which discriminate against or which vilify a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference, religion, disability, mental illness or political belief.
• Don’t demean any grouping of people;
• Don’t depict material contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety.”
However, the 10-year-old company is not deterred, with plans to avoid letting the $10,000 printing costs go to waste.
“We currently have Airtasker ads seeking people to do letter box drops,” says Mr Carthew.
He admits that the company is no stranger to controversy, with some “corker” marketing campaigns raising many an eyebrow.
“We’ve had some corkers over the years, including our syringe pens to promote the Burger Urge taste addition; our Burger Urge condoms to expose our premium beef; and involving Warwick Capper to front the legitimate Burger Urge political party, which was endorsed by then freshly-ousted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.