If you look at Burger King's tagged photos on Instagram, you might see a penis. Since yesterday, the brand's tags have been taken over by pranksters who have uploaded images in such an order that if you look at the brand's photos as a grid, several pictures come together to make up one big penis.
The prank was started yesterday by Pablo Rochat, a San Francisco-based artist whose work includes tap-and-hold games for Instagram. One of those, for example, shows a cat's face with moving features; when you hold the screen, the movement stops and the cat's face is either normal or unsettling, depending on the timing of your tap. He's done the same with Albert Einstein and Kim Kardashian's faces. While he knows he doesn't own the concept, the face game is "one of the things I've used to establish my footing as a creative," Rochat told VICE. So when Burger King Switzerland ran a a tap-and-hold game using the King's face as an ad, it felt a little familiar.
Rochat doesn't usually call out art theft publicly since the legal process is expensive and tedious, he said, and he's been ghosted by companies before—which is why he decided on a creative approach. "It just happened to be a day when I wanted to prank someone and draw a penis on their tagged photos, and I was like, 'Let me just fuck with the big brand,'" he said. He uploaded a six images that made up a penis.
His drawing has since been followed by all manner of dicks: some are reposts of the original, while others have taken artistic license by making them a little hairier, a little bigger, or inexplicably pointy, but all of them have tagged Burger King. One account followed it with the phrase "Justice for Pablo," while others seem to have just liked the opportunity to draw a dick and post it publicly.
The goal isn't to make Burger King mad, according to Rochat, but to make a comeback that's at least clever and fun. "I felt that because they took an idea that I worked hard to develop on my own, I gave myself permission to get back at them in a creative way that really wouldn't hurt them too much but would be fun and entertaining for everyone," he said. "The most important takeaway that I want people to get from this is that the best revenge is creative."
It's not clear how the brand feels, but the tags are still up a full day later. VICE has reached out to Burger King for comment but we have not yet received a response. For now: Dick on, pranksters, dick on.