Burger King created and apologized for an insensitive advertisement promising Russian women a lifetime supply of free meals and $47,000, if they were to become pregnant with a World Cup soccer player’s child.
“The offer was extended to ‘girls who manage to get the best football genes’ and ‘lay down the success of the Russian national football team,’ the indication being that the offspring produced by such liaisons would grow up to be soccer stars,” USA TODAY reports. “It is a reward for the girls who would get pregnant from the international football superstars.”
However, the fast food company pulled the advertisement from social media at the end of June, admitting that the premise was “too offensive.”
Burger King’s media relations department at its U.S. headquarters apologized, in a in a statement to USA TODAY Sports, for “the clearly offensive promotion that the team in Russia launched online. As soon as it was brought to our attention, we had it removed. It certainly doesn’t reflect our brand or our values and we are taking steps to ensure this type of activity doesn’t happen again.”
Russia political leaders criticized the Burger King campaign as “crass and inappropriate,” claiming “it [was] a very stupid campaign … from the hellish people of the fast-food chain,” Russian State Duma leader Vitaly Milonov said to reporters, according to USA TODAY. “They are trying to attract attention, not by improving the quality, but through silly offers.”
To many, this type of advertisement is absurd and demeaning, but in Russia, things may be different when it comes to what is deemed appropriate. Ksenia Fadeeva, a 19 year old student from Moscow said, “Russian women are accustomed to such sexist advertisements. It’s normal for us. It’s pathetic, but companies know they can appeal to the basic instincts of Russia men in this way. My male friends thought it was funny. We get used to this.”