Burger King Pulls Mary J. Blige Ad

Mary J BligeBurger King has removed a controversial commercial featuring Mary J. Blige. The ad was one of several videos starring famous people such as Jay Leno, Salma Hayek, Steven Tyler, and Sofia Vergara. However, the Blige video was criticized for reinforcing stereotypes. An article on Clutch magazine, for example, identifies three "problems" with the ad: 

1. Yet Another Black Person Singing About Fast Food Chicken. 
2. She Seems Crazy For No Good Reason. 
3. Those Snack Wraps Look Nasty.

In a statement to Ad Age, Burger King explains the decision to pull the ad as a copyright issue:

"The Mary J. Blige advertisement was pulled off of the Burger King YouTube channel due to a music-licensing issue, which Burger King is in the process of resolving. We expect to have the ads back up and on air soon.

"Burger King enlisted a diverse cast of A-list celebrities representing the many faces of the American melting pot. Mary J. Blige is just one of the celebrities helping to promote our new menu items, including Garden Fresh Salads, Snack Wraps, Crispy Chicken Strips, Real Fruit Smoothies and Frappes."

The ad can still be seen on Gawker's website.

Discussion Starters:

  • Do you find the Mary J. Blige ad offensive, funny, entertaining, dumb, or something else? How does this ad compare to the others that are part of Burger King's new campaign: Jay Leno, Salma Hayek, and David Beckham?
  • How do you assess Burger King's rationale for removing the Blige video? Do you believe the company's statement?