Burger King may not win any prizes for the biggest star names in their Super Bowl halftime advert or the biggest budget spent, either. But they certainly conjured up one of the most left-field and arthouse adverts in recent times, as the Daily Mail reports.
Their 45-second advert featured world-famous pop artist Andy Warhol silently eating a Whopper. He takes the burger out of its box in silence and then unwraps the paper.
Warhol then opens a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup and proceeds to pour a dollop of it onto the paper. He then dips the burger in the sauce and begins to eat. The only sound heard during the clip is when Warhol struggles to get ketchup out of the bottle and is heard to say, “It doesn’t come out.”
Burger King accompanied the advert with “#EatLikeAndy” above their logo.
The footage was famously filmed in 1982 as part of a movie called 66 Scenes from America. It was directed by Danish experimental filmmaker Jorgen Leth. In the full scene, Warhol eats the entire burger before saying to the camera, “My name is Andy Warhol, and I just finished eating a hamburger.”
— Ad Age (@adage) February 4, 2019
According to Ad Age, Burger King bought the rights to clip a few years after the movie was released. However, before they could show the clip at this year’s Super Bowl, they also had to secure permission from Andy Warhol’s estate and from director Jorgen Leth.
Burger King’s global head of brand marketing, Marcelo Pascoa, explained to Ad Age that these negotiations were different to other ones he had taken part in.
“One of the things that was unique about the negotiation was that we didn’t want to change or touch the film in any way that would take away from its original intent,” Pascoa explained. “We knew that the best thing we could do would be to keep the film as intact as we could.”
The Burger King press release which accompanied the advert explained why the company felt that the silent clip had the power to be so powerful.
“The spot is meant to break through the traditional Super Bowl commercial break, filled with explosions, slapstick jokes and celebrities, with an almost silent, yet powerful work of art.”
However, there is still a risk that the advert could backfire on Burger King. In the original movie, before the clip used in the advert is a section where Warhol is talking to the director, Leth. In this scene, Warhol is heard to ask why they are not using a burger from rival McDonalds.
The crew apparently offered to go and get him a McDonald’s burger before Warhol says, “Never mind, I will take the Burger King.”