Character of the Week: The Burger King

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The Burger King Mascot

The first version of the Burger King advertising mascot appeared on the sign for the original Burger King restaurant that opened in Miami Beach in 1954.  The next version of the Burger King was seen on the company logo in 1957.  It showed a cartoon king sitting atop a sign that read “Burger King Home Of The Whopper.”  The logo was used on the restaurant signs as well as the cups and bags the food was served with.

In 1960, the logo received an update and featured a cartoon king sitting on a large “hamburger throne,” shown above.  This logo was used until 1969, when the king and his throne were replaced by the image of two buns with the words “Burger King” in-between the buns.  An updated version of this is used today.

In the late 1960s, Burger King came out with commercials aimed at children.  The commercials featured an animated Burger King who visited Burger King restaurants.  In all the commercials, the Burger King gave the children small gifts or bought them food.  Also, he recited the slogan, “Burger King, where kids are king.”

A few years later, in response to competition from McDonald’s, the animated king was replaced by a human Burger King.  This king was called the “Marvelous Magical Burger King.”  He could perform magic tricks, and ruled over Burger King Kingdom.  He also had friends, Sir Shakes-A-Lot, The Burger Thing, and The Wizard of Fries.  Of course, there was a villain named The Duke Of Doubt.  The new slogan was, “Magic makes it special when you’re with Burger King.”

By the late 1980s, the Magical Burger King ads were phased out and replaced by the BK Kids Club Gang ads.  These ads featured a group of ethnically diverse children created to promote the Burger King Kids Club Meal.  The Burger King would not resurface until the 21st century.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Burger King also came out with commercials for adults.  One of the more successful slogans used was “Have It Your Way.”  This slogan would also be used in the 21st century.

In 2003, the advertising company, Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) was hired to overhaul Burger King’s advertising campaigns.  The first campaign used a caricatured version of the Burger King from the Burger King Kingdom days.  The next campaign, which is still used today, featured a Burger King wearing a large plastic mask that looks like the original Burger King from the 70s.

The commercials featuring the masked King are wildly popular.  The King appears in random places such as in bed with people, or pops up in windows once the blinds are opened, to give people Burger King products.  He does not speak, and relies on his large plastic smile to communicate.  The King has become known as the “Creepy King” because of his weird appearances and mime-like behavior.

Advertising campaigns have changed throughout the years, but they have come full circle.  The Burger King is the image that comes to mind when thinking about Burger King restaurants. From cheery caricature to creepy masked man, the Burger King is an advertising icon that will continue to evolve and stay current with the tastes of the public.  As one of the most recognizable advertising mascots in history, he is sure to be around for years to come.

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Last updated: May 20, 2009
Filed under: Retro Characters Tagged with: Burger King, Burger King Mascot, The Burger King