Burger King is one of the giants of the fast food industry; the rival of McDonald's, serving the whopper burger and a number of indulgently delicious sides. This fast-food company has also been through its fair share of media coverage, from customers shooting at employees over wait times to humorous campaign ads addressing the pandemic struggles that began last year. Burger King Russia is one division of the company responsible for more ridiculousness than most.
Burger King Russia
The Russian division of Burger King restaurant has a history of misogynistic marketing campaigns, from ridiculing a teenage rape victim to offering a lifetime supply of whoppers and 3 million rubles to Russian women who got impregnated by a Russian World Cup player. This attempt to "continue the line of the best football genes" in exchange for free burgers was criticized widely on Russian social media until taken down.
Along with their questionable campaigns surrounding World Cup stars and free whoppers, the Russian part of this well-known fast food chain felt strongly about the movie It. For anyone who hasn't seen the horror film, it's about an evil, bloodthirsty clown named Pennywise who preys on children in the fictional town of Derry. A group of misfit kids, "the losers club" band together to fight the monster.
"An Exact Copy"
While many who saw the movie felt disturbed and were less inclined to go to the circus for a few months, Burger King Russia saw another side of the story. The burger chain filed a complaint with the country's business board, seeking to ban the Warner Bros. movie from the country.
Pennywise Ronald McDonald Shirt
In their eyes, the movie acted as free marketing for their rival McDonald's, because Pennywise looks the exact same as the McDonald's clown Ronald McDonald. The Russian publication Vedomosti reported that Burger King claimed that "the protagonist for the movie is an exact copy of Ronald McDonald, including the color range and the balloons with which the clown lures children."
I wonder ? when pennywise be off work from acting , is his side job McDonald's ... is his brother Ronald McDonald or ?
— CupcakKe (@CupcakKe_rapper) November 29, 2017
The fast food company felt that this likeness violates Russia's advertising laws. A spokesperson for Russias Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) planned to examine It and decide whether Pennywise really was modeled after Ronald McDonald.
Andrey Kashevarov, head of FAS, said that he was unconcerned with the allegations because the "author of the script [and] the director" have their own "artistic perception" of the Pennywise character, who was first created in Stephen King's 1986 horror novel It.
We haven't heard any updates on the status of It being banned in Russia, but we may never see Ronald McDonald the same. And just in case, the next time you see a clown, ask yourself if you're suddenly craving a Big Mac.
Products featured on Wide Open Eats are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.