And the burger started to rule the world

Kingdom or neo-imperialism.

I have already mentioned several times the efforts led by creative agency Crispin, Porter+Bogusky to shift paradigms though clever usage of creativity. One of their customers is Burger King and in the US the fast food brand is facing the tough competition of archrival McDonald's but argue that their hero product, the Whopper, is simply the best burger to be sold on US soil. So how to substantiate such a claim?

When it comes to food and beverages, organoleptic tests have been used for ages. Would Mrs Smith prefer the coffee A versus coffee B? Mustard X versus Mustard Y? Coke or Pepsi? Now there is an obvious skew in the test results depending on your own history. If you have been bred on mother's apple marmalade, it is very unlikely that any other apple jam will ever compete. There are some elements engraved in our subconsciousness, be it individual or collective, that bias our perception of things. We tend to associate some emotional variables to what are sensations. I wrote an article a few months back on that topic when walking around the street of London and smelling the peculiar smell of evergreens...

That is the challenge that CP+B decided to address by setting a comparison test that would not be biased. They thus decided to move to remote places around the globe to meet people who had been lucky to escape the double-quarter-pounder-with-cheese tsunami. The principle is simple: if we present two unknown products to a consumer that has never been exposed to that category, then their ratings would really be valuable as totally objective.

Cultural checks... For your sanity.

When I looked at that video I have been torn between two feelings: on the one hand I was interested in this experiment from a ethnological standpoint, on the other hand I felt kind of upset about it. A few things bothered me.

First the way that these people are pictured, most of the time they are dressed up in their celebration outfits, just to over-stress the fact they were different people. That was a little bit too much for me. The other elements that bothered me was the necessity to go in such places and "corrupt" their perception by forcing them to evaluate the lowest quality of Western food. Would you like to participate in a test where you are asked to evaluate which goat turd tastes better because in some country it is considered a delicacy? I really like for that reason the very last sentence of the film: "seal meat taste better". After all, the US norm and especially Burgers are not, and should never be considered as a standard in terms of culinary excellence.

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