Fast food giant Burger King apologized on Tuesday for an advertisement featuring a squat Mexican draped in his country’s flag next to a tall cowboy and said it would change the campaign.
Mexico’s ambassador to Spain said posters released in Europe for Burger King’s new Tex-Mex style “Texican whopper,” a cheeseburger with chili and spicy mayonnaise, inappropriately displayed the Mexican flag, whose image is protected under national law.
The ambassador wrote a letter complaining to Burger King and requested the ad campaign be discontinued.
Burger King said the ads were meant to show a mixture of influences from the southwestern US and Mexico, not to poke fun at Mexican culture, but said it would replace them “as soon as commercially possible.”
“Burger King Corporation has made the decision to revise the Texican Whopper advertising creative out of respect for the Mexican culture and its people,” it said in a statement.
“The existing campaign falls fully within the legal parameters of the United Kingdom and Spain, where the commercials are being aired and were not intended to offend anyone,” the company said.
A TV version of the advertisement shows the lanky cowboy and the pint-sized Mexican wrestler — nicknamed “Just a Little Bit” — living together as roommates. At one point, the American lifts up the Mexican to help him put a trophy on a high shelf.
Mexico was involved in another controversial ad campaign last year when Absolut vodka posted billboard ads in Mexico with an early 19th century map showing chunks of the US as part of Mexico.
The campaign angered many US citizens and was later dropped.