*The Mary J. Blige Burger King chicken wraps ad that’s got black folks on the net buzzin’ has been pulled. That’s news most of you may already know. But what you may not suspect is why it was pulled.
Conventional wisdom says it was because of the negative reaction from black folks, it’s intended audience. However, according to Burger King, it was pulled because of music licensing issues — not criticism of the ad.
The spot debuted this week and in it, Blige sings soulfully about chicken snack wraps.
Burger King said Tuesday the commercial was pulled because of a licensing concern. The company, reports TheAP, said it hopes to have the Blige “ads back on the air soon,” though a spokeswoman would not comment on whether they ads would be the same.
As the video went viral, some in the black community criticized it as stereotypical.
Madame Noire even posted an open letter to Mary J. Blige entitled “Her Buffoonish Burger King Commercial.” The letter/blog criticizes Mary for participating in the commercial, saying that the advert was a purposeful blow about Black people.
“Having a black woman sing about chicken was no mistake,” writes Renay Alize, “they’re trying to reach the ‘urban’ (aka black) demographic and they used you.”
The VP of North American marketing, Alex Macedo attempted to explain the move and justify the ad campaign.
“The big challenge is how do you really grab people’s attention?” Macedo said, “And, most of all, how do you get them to taste the product? We chose celebrities to get people’s attention faster and to show the diversity that we have with our brand.”
Burger King’s new ads come in direct response to its declining sales. Last month, food industry research firm Technomic announced that Wendy’s had dethroned the Burger King for the first time ever, becoming the country’s second most popular burger chain.