Like it or not, creepy clowns have become a formidable force in the cultural zeitgeist over the last couple of years. It started with isolated incidents across North America and Europe and culminated with the Stephen King reboot It taking in $666 million in spooky revenue globally since it opened in early September. Heck, we even got in on the action by having some scary-as-hell clowns test-drive some knives in the MUNCHIES kitchen.
As with many other cases of the meme-ifying of culturally valuable characters or products, it was just a matter of time before big corporations began using creepy crowns to their benefit. While its rival McDonald's has been using a creepy clown as a fast food mascot since forever, Burger King is now jumping on the bandwagon with a #ScaryClownNight ad campaign that includes this polished 90-second video.
With night-biking and an 80s synth soundtrack reminiscent of that of Stranger Things, the spot shows a young man is pursued first by a Ronald McDonald lookalike on a tiny tricycle, and then by a whole army of honking, juggling clowns. Seeking refuge in a Burger King, he is once again faced with the Ronald-esque ringleader who, in a not-so-subtle dig at the Golden Arches, says, "I want my Whopper." The ad ends on a cliffhanger—assuming you care about the guy on the bike—and with the slogan "Come as a clown, eat like a king."
But the most ambitious part of Burger King's campaign is its promise to customers: "This Halloween, come dressed as a clown and get a free Whopper sandwich." Now, before you reach for your clown makeup, it's worth noting that the promotion will be limited to only five locations across the US. According to the fine print in the ad, those locations will be in Miami; Salt Lake City; Austin; Burbank, California; and Framingham, Massachusetts.
If being surrounded by a very high concentration of balloons and overzealous clowns while eating Chicken Fries is your thing, then you know where to be tonight. We'll probably stick to apple-bobbing and baking pagan bread.