Melbourne: A Burger King ad which shows Mary J Blige singing about fried chicken has been pulled out for pushing racial stereotypes.
The fast food joint, which is losing out to rivals, hired Salma Hayek, Jay Leno, David Beckham and Mary J. Blige to revive its fortunes.
The ads try to convince the public that famous people are just like them and enjoy eating burgers and drinking milk-shakes in Burger King restaurants.
However, the Blige spot, in which the rapper gets on top of a Burger King table and sings: “Crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing, wrapped up in a tasty flour tortilla”, has suffered a huge backlash.
Critics claim the ad plays into uncomfortable stereotypes by having a black woman sing about chicken.
One, Madame Noire, also hit out at Blige for doing the ad.
“You know what desperate execs do when they need to make money? They hurriedly throw together cliched, often stereotypical, advertising campaigns. And that’s where you came in, Mary,” News.com.au quoted the critic as saying.
“Having a black woman sing about chicken was no mistake. They’re trying to reach the ‘urban’ (aka black) demographic. And God knows black folk, won’t buy anything unless there’s a song, and preferably a dance, attached to it.
“You are the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, not a court jester for the so-called King of Burgers,” she said.
Muddying the issue was Burger King’s decision to pull the ad from its YouTube page soon after the backlash began.
In statement released after an uncomfortably long silence, Burger King said it pulled the ad due to a licensing issue and expected to have it back on air soon. It wouldn’t comment on whether the ad would remain the same.
However, Blige told TMZ: “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip.
“I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw go out,” she said.