The Burger King’s latest sports ad is all about the sports.
The spot has the fast-food chain playing down its relationship with the NFL, calling the partnership “very, very, very difficult.”
But the Burger Kings ad is more than just a shot at the NFL.
In it, the fast food chain’s executives play the part of the sports announcers, introducing a player like “Big Ben” to the franchise by saying, “He’s the most popular guy in town, Ben.”
And then they ask viewers to buy a burger, which they then share with the character.
It’s an ironic ad for a company that’s been doing a bit of marketing work for the NFL for years, though it’s likely that the spot is the first of many Burger King ads featuring the NFL and its players.
And the NFL isn’t happy.
The NFL Players Association called the ad a “bait-and-switch” designed to “promote the NFL’s brand image and stoke the ratings of its commercials.”
The league says the Burger and Dairy Kings ads don’t fit the criteria for a boycott, saying that the company is not allowed to endorse or promote NFL teams.
“We will continue to monitor Burger King and Dairy King and other advertisers who are using their position to promote NFL products and activities,” the NFLPA said in a statement.
In the past, the NFL has been criticized for supporting a few teams and players, including the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns.
But it also recently backed the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers to a point where it had to withdraw its endorsement.
So, why would a company like Burger King have to pull its endorsement if it doesn’t want to?
A company like McDonald’s or Taco Bell would be in a very strong position to pull the endorsement, said Michael Osterholm, the senior vice president of media for the Association of National Advertisers, which represents all the major companies.
“If they had an open relationship with them, then they would be free to do it,” Osterholm said.
The problem is, Burger King doesn’t have an open or close relationship with McDonald’s.
It only has an agreement with Burger King, which is part of McDonald’s global brands, like Double Down and Frito Lay.
So the NFL is playing catch-up.
“I don’t think the NFL will ever be able to make a decision about the Burger-King-McDonalds partnership,” Oesterholm said.
He says the NFL could make a public statement, like saying, Hey, this is not a good idea.
But then McDonald’s could say, We’re going to pull our endorsement.
And Burger King would probably say, No, you’re not going to get your endorsement back, so we’re not doing that either.
And then McDonalds would say, Well, we’ve never been the best customer.
But they would have a much better relationship with Burger Kings than they do with McDonalds.
The real question is, Will the NFL pull its sponsorship?
It would be a huge embarrassment for the league, and it’s not like Burger Kings are the NFL-brand brand.
It would also send a bad message to McDonalds and other fast-casual chains that they need to do more to get their brands noticed by the NFL as a brand.
“They have the best of both worlds,” said Adam Dyer, a professor at Duke University’s school of business.
“McDonald’s is an important, big-market brand, but Burger King is a smaller, more niche brand that they have a lot of influence with.
They’re an important player in the fast chain, but they’re not a big player in sports.”
And the fact that the NFL wants to pull their endorsement could also hurt Burger King in the long run.
“You would be pushing the brand, putting a lot more pressure on them to stay in the NFL,” Opperholm said, adding that it’s important for brands to try to get in front of the NFL with their brand.
But Burger King isn’t going to give up.
“It’s not about the football, it’s about the fans, and that’s what’s important,” Ostersholm said about the NFL pulling its endorsement, adding, “We’re not gonna go to the end of the road here.”
And he says it’s unlikely that Burger King will leave the NFL anytime soon.
“The NFL has always had a very good relationship with us, and we’ve got a lot to offer,” Oosterholm said in an interview.
“But it’s a brand that has to continue to grow and grow to survive.”