Burger King is coming for King Philippe of Belgium’s crown


Burger King is bringing their fine form of fast food to our Belgian friends, but their campaign to do so has ticked off the actual king of Belgium in the process.

In advance of opening the doors on new locations in Belgium, Burger King is asking the Belgian populace to vote online to crown the “true” king of the country. King Philippe, the actual ruling monarch, is apparently not pleased with the stunt.

The website — which you can explore if you speak French, Dutch or trust the semi-accurate Google translate feature — runs through a brief history of kings in the country. Namely, the coronation of King Philippe on July 21, 2013 and when Burger King announced their intentions on May 19, 2017 to come to the country. Then, you’re prompted to vote.

If you vote for BK, you’re vote is automatically counted and you’re encouraged to check back June 19 to see the winner.

If you want to show your civic pride and vote for King Philippe, well, then the path ahead is a little more difficult. First, your prompted whether you’re sure you want to vote for the king — because he won’t make your fries. Say yes and then you’re prompted again — are you sure you’re sure? You can’t show up unannounced at 11 p.m. at his home. The “yes” button is not itty bitty. If you click through once more, you’re faced with another tease/taunt. “Whopper the First” is a great name for a king. Finally, if you want are absolutely sure, you must chase the yes button around the screen for awhile, before your vote for King Philippe is finally registered.

Royal families are not exactly known for their sense of humor so needless to say, King Philippe and his people were not pleased. According to Reuters, representatives of King Philippe asked Burger King to “explain itself“:

"“We told them that we were not happy with them using an image of the king in their campaign,” palace spokesman Pierre-Emmanuel De Bauw told Reuters, adding that the monarch’s image — he appears in cartoon form — could not be used for commerce."

Burger King was not daunted. Shana Van den Broeck, a spokeswoman for Burger Brands Belgium, told Reuters:

"“We are deliberating on how to proceed,” she said. “Should we make a change to our campaign we would communicate that.”"

Newsweek reports that, in addition to the website, Burger King has produced posters which such catchy slogans as “Vote With Your Stomach,” “Belgian People, Choose A King Who Will Make You Fries,” and “Philippe, Another King Arrives in Belgium.”

Time will tell how the Belgian people really feel — they did, after all, hold a referendum in 1950 to consider abolishing the monarchy that led to the abdication of King Leopold III on the grounds of his behavior during Nazi occupation — but the June 19 poll results are one more election, with significantly lower stakes, to keep an eye on this year.