Small, Medium, Large
Burger King’s French fries have always been the Matchbox 20 of fries when compared to McDonald’s far superior Nirvana ones. Since December, however, the King has been marketing a “new fry” — even going so far as to give free small fries away for an entire day — with the hubris of Oasis claiming to be bigger than the Beatles.
BK brought on a new fries sponsor in Mr. Potato Head, who recently made a Burt Bacharach styled resurgence thanks to Disney’s Toy Story. Of course, there is a great degree of irony in the fact that Mr. Potato Head — like Charlie Tuna for StarKist Tuna — is essentially telling consumers to “Eat Me!” He is, after all, a potato. Whether this is purposeful subtle humor or not is up in the air.
The King’s old fries were edible, but only with a hefty helping of ketchup. People went to BK for the Whopper or the superior chicken sandwich. The fries were simply filler that had to be stomached, like many a band’s debut album. BK’s pitch is that they claim the new fries beat out McDonald’s in a nationwide taste test. Whether they simply served the fries to BK employees across the country and threatened these tasters with dismissal if they chose wrongly is left unstated.
The King’s new fries are supposed to be better tasting and stay hotter longer because of their new coating. What is this new coating? Well, it looks suspiciously like … batter. It’s almost as if the fries were dipped in batter, fried, dipped again, fried, and so on until a ring of batter encircled the small amount of “potato” in the middle. Sure, it probably stays hotter — it’s the old adage about wearing layers. But as for better taste? That’s where the fry goes limp. A good CD cover can only hide bad music for so long.
Aside from a greasy, batter flavor, the fries are actually rather bland. And as bad as the original ones were, at least they didn’t sit like a lump when digested. Could the King have over-produced their new fry too much, looking for Top 40 appeal?
Maybe it’s all part of a big New Coke-styled marketing scheme. The new fries are brought out, they taste worse than the originals, everyone complains, and BK brings back the old fries as Classic Fries to spur mass consumption. We can only hope, because the King’s new fries need to leave the building.