Burger King moves on from mouldy burgers to cow farts

In its latest campaign to focus on health and sustainability, a new Michel Gondry-directed spot for Burger King introduces a Whopper made from beef with reduced methane emissions

We’re getting used to unexpected ad campaigns coming from Burger King now. The brand has produced ads throughout the pandemic that contain a light-hearted touch yet remain respectful of the seriousness of the situation (no mean feat) and it of course kicked off the year with its Moldy Burger campaign, which highlighted its commitment to remove all artificial preservatives from its products by the end of this year.

Its latest ad, created by ad agency We Believers with legendarily quirky director Michel Gondry, is in the latter vein, but this time has shifted its attention to cow farts, and the effects that the methane within them has on our environment. Burger King’s solution to this is to introduce a new diet for its cows, featuring lemongrass, which will lower methane emissions by a third.

There is a lot of information to impart in this two-minute-long ad, and unlike Moldy Burger – which grabbed audiences’ attention with a shocking image before getting them to read the small print – it requires you to pay a fair amount of attention throughout to get the full picture. Gondry’s imagery is, as-ever, charming, and 11-year-old country singer Mason Ramsey does his best to make the message catchy, but there’s still a lot to process.

It’s a safer play than the Moldy Burger ads though, which were downright unappetising, and divisive as a result. But singing about cow farts in an ad is still undoubtedly brave from a food brand – and a clear message that Burger King wants to lay claim to being the fast food brand that cares about our health and the environment, likely a vital move to keep younger audiences interested in the brand in the future.

The new reduced emissions Whoppers are currently only available at certain restaurants in Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Portland. But, in another unusual move for a fast-food chain, Burger King has made the formula and research behind its cow diet open source, at bk.com/sustainability, in a bid to encourage others to also address the part they play in climate change.

“If the whole industry, from farmers, meat suppliers, and other brands join us, we can increase scale and collectively help reduce methane emissions that affect climate change,” said Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer for Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International.

Agency: We Believers
CCO: Gustavo Lauria
Group Creative Director: Santiago Luna Lupo
Art director: Diego Grandi
Production company: Partizan
Director: Michel Gondry