Burger King Lands in a Pickle with Mexican Government

Real offense is misuse of Mexican flag, says ambassador

By MARK STEVENSON
|  Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009  |  Updated 1:16 AM CDT
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Burger King Lands in a Pickle with Mexican Government

Burger King

Burger King has pushed the envelope before.

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Mexico is protesting what it says is a whopper of an insult.

An advertisement for Burger King's Texican Whopper burger that has run in Europe shows a small wrestler dressed in a cape resembling a Mexican flag. The wrestler teams up with a lanky American cowboy almost twice his height to illustrate the cross-border blend of flavors.

"The taste of Texas with a little spicy Mexican," a narrator's voice says.

The taller cowboy boosts the wrestler up to reach high shelves and helps clean tall windows, while the Mexican helps the cowboy open a jar.

Mexico's ambassador to Spain said Monday he has written a letter to Burger King's offices in that nation objecting to the ad and asking that it be removed. Jorge Zermeno told Radio Formula that the ads "improperly use the stereotyped image of a Mexican."

Burger King Texican Ad

Press officials at Burger King Corp. offices in Miami, Florida, and Madrid, Spain, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Burger King is known for its signature Whopper hamburger.

One of the things that most angered Mexican officials was a print edition of the ad showing the wrestler wearing what appear to be a Mexican flag as a cloak.

"We have to tell these people that in Mexico we have a great deal of respect for our flag," Zermeno said.

Mexico has very strict rules about using the flag. In 2008, the government fined a foreign-owned publishing house, Random House Mondadori SA, for showing disrespect to the country's flag in a video posted online.

The video showed a literature fan wearing a Mexican flag like a cape as he barges into a book signing and rips a piece of cloth from the coat of Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.

It is not the first time that fast-food outlets have offended Mexican sensibilities.

Mexicans and other Hispanics in the United States objected to a Taco Bell ad from the 1990s that featured a pint-sized talking Chihuahua that spoke with a Mexican accent.
 

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