Launch in Belgium in June, the country is being asked to pick between Burger King and King Philippe VII
Fast food giant Burger King has been contacted by the Belgian royal family, with King Philippe lodging a complaint that the home of the Whopper had asked his subjects to choose between their monarch and the Burger King mascot.
Burger King is due to open its first restaurant in the European country in June and has marked the occasion with a viral marketing campaign.
Visitors on WhoIsTheKing.be are asked to pick who their real king, with the choice between King Philippe VII and the Burger King, a mascot used on and off by the chain since 1955.
Selecting from two cartoon images, those who pick Philippe are prompted with the question, “Are you sure? He won’t be the one cooking your fries...”
Anyone who clicks on Oui is then asked, “Are you sure you’re sure? Rock up at his place at 11pm without warning and see,” with the Oui button then shrinking in size.
A third question appears asking visitors if they’re definitely sure, “Because Whopper I really has a ring to it as a name,” with the Oui button then moving away from the mouse curser.
“We disapprove of this approach,” said royal spokesman Pierre Emmanuel de Bauw. “Since it is for commercial purposes, we would not have given our authorisation.”
This is not the first time the Belgian royals have had their images used without permission in advertising campaigns; in 2012, a photo of King Albert II, Philippe’s father, was used beside Britain’s Prince Charles and former US President Bill Clinton in an ad for Ashley Madison, the website for those looking to cheat on their spouses.
Four years later, Queen Mathilde, a speech therapist and wife of the current sovereign, was featured in an advert for diet pills in a before-and-after series, with the former showing her while she was pregnant.
Belgian law stipulates that any brand or company wanting to use the image of a person must first seek their consent, with the Belgian king and queen included. The royal palace says it has contacted Burger King for violating this law.
For the moment, the website remains live and the cartoon image of King Philippe is still used. It remains to be seen which king will win the online poll.