Burger King amusingly mocks FCC's net neutrality repeal

Commentary: In an ad that may not amuse the FCC, the fast-food chain uses the Whopper to show the potential injustice of repealing net neutrality.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The pain that comes with paying regular prices.

Burger King/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's an emotional issue.

Critics fear that the Federal Communications Commission's recent repeal of net neutrality will cause the internet to have several speeds, with the fastest being reserved for the biggest companies.

Protesters are taking to the streets. Montana just became the first state to ignore the FCC and insist on net neutrality, and New York just became the second.

But what does Burger King think? 

When a brand beloved by many takes a stand, perhaps more people will take notice.

So, bolstering its street credentials, the burger chain is standing with the protesters. In a new ad, it's using its famed, flamed Whopper to explain what net neutrality will likely mean for the ordinary citizen. (Please allow me a very brief digression to tout a colleague and mention that it's not the first time someone's used an ingestible to explain net neutrality. CNET's Bridget Carey used beer.)

In the Burger King commercial, we're in one of the chain's outlets. Angry people abound. Which can happen in a burger joint.

Here, though, the problem is that some people are getting their Whoppers quickly, while others are forced to bathe in their hunger pangs for seemingly ages. 

Well, they only paid the regular prices.

"Whopper neutrality was repealed. They voted on it," explains the patient Burger King employee. 

A customer gets very, very annoyed when she discovers that, in order to get his Whopper more quickly, a fellow human paid $26. 

This is precisely what many fear -- that internet services will be chopped up and served at ever-higher prices for those prepared to pay. (Some cite Portugal as an example of this, although the web site Snopes says that's not accurate.)

Another customer describes it all as a bad dream, the blood coursing through his veins as he curses.

Oh, there are many aspects of the current world that might feel, to some, like a bad dream. But what can one do? Accept and adjust, I suppose. Or mock and protest, of course.

As far as Burger King is concerned, this is serious. "We believe the internet should be like Burger King restaurants, a place that doesn't prioritize, and welcomes everyone," Fernando Machado, the chain's chief marketing officer, said in a press release.

The FCC didn't respond to a request for comment (which I sent via regular-speed email).

Perhaps the FCC won't appreciate this mockery. Some, though, didn't appreciate FCC chairman Ajit Pai offering a humorous speech at a recent industry dinner, in which he joked that he's a Verizon puppet.

Watch this: Beer helps explain battle brewing over net neutrality

I wonder if McDonald's will now come out with an ad, featuring Pai himself, that supports the repeal. Perhaps it'll use Big Macs to represent big companies and cheeseburgers to represent the little people.

Aren't these burger chains permanently in competition?

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