Burger King's New 'Real Meals' Are Silly, But They Have a Good Message
For a long time, themed kids' fast food meals were dominated by the Happy Meal. It became a catch-all term for neatly packaged meals that kids liked. Other restaurants tried, but nothing had the longevity or brand awareness domination of the Happy Meal.
Burger King is trying its best, though, to face off against the Happy Meal and shed some light on a major issue affecting people of all age groups all over the world: It's OK to not feel happy all the time.
Enter Burger King's "Real Meals," which it says are more representative of the "real" moods its customers experience. There's the Pissed Meal, Blue Meal, Salty Meal, Yaaas Meal and DGAF (Don't Give a [You Know]) meal. Each meal includes a Whopper, fries and a drink, and each comes in specialty packaging.
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) May 1, 2019
This seems a bit silly, and it is, but there's an opportunity to give Burger King the ol' tip of the cap for doing this. It's all to raise awareness for Mental Health Awareness Month during May.
"Burger King restaurants understands that no one is happy all the time," Burger King said in a statement, according to NBC News. "That's why they're asking guests to order a Whopper meal based on however they might the feeling."
Yes, this is a bit of an oversimplification of mental health issues that people face, and it's sort of reductive to say that throwing fast food at the problem will solve the issue. But, I think Burger King is coming from a good place here. It's totally silly, but hopefully you're not taking your cues about how to handle the broad spectrum of mental health issues—and how to help a loved one dealing with these very real problems—from a fast food chain.
If Mental Health America, Burger King's partner in this effort, can sign off, that's a good indicator of Burger King's good intentions.
"While not everyone would think about pairing fast food and mental health, MHA believes in elevating the conversation in all communities in order to address mental illness Before Stage 4 (when someone has severe symptoms," MHA president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo told NBC News.
So, with that disclaimer aside, we can look at this as an innovative and creative move from Burger King.
This is a little more on the subtle side. It verges into that "How do you do, fellow kids?" territory we've hinted at before, where brands try too hard to appeal to those pesky millennials but end up falling flat, but you can forgive it because what it's trying to do is ultimately a good thing. It's like an embarrassing parent. Sure, they come on a little strong with the jokes, but they're just trying to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome.
If a silly box that says "Yaaas meal" ultimately chips away at the stigma surrounding mental health issues, then who are we to complain about it? If people in cities like Seattle, New York and Austin, where Burger King will roll out this promo, use this as an opportunity to work toward managing an ongoing issue they may be suppressing, that's a good thing.
So, Burger King, this is pretty stupid. But also really nice.
It's not that a Whopper is going to solve the problem, but it's OK to feel a little sad, deflated, angry, frustrated or anxious without having to feel like you should mask it for society's sake.
There's just this tiny part of us that can't shake the feeling that Burger King is biting Marge Simpson's style.