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A Whopper of a Funeral Gives Burger King PR
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Everyone has an idea of a bucket list, right? Skydiving or bungee jumping naked, be the one chosen to "start your engines" at the Daytona 500, or perhaps go to Australia and physically locate 42 Wallaby Way in Sydney. (For all you parents or Disney lovers out there.) And there's 88-year-old World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient David Kime, Jr. who left his dying wish to the King. 

Um, that's the Burger King, kids. David wanted one more Whopper Jr. for the road. No, really. It's in the New York Daily News. Even in death, he wanted it his way. (Okay, sorry.) 

David Kime Jr. “lived by his own rules,” daughter Linda Phiel said. "He considered the lettuce on a burger his version of healthy eating," she said. To give him a whopper of a send-off Saturday, the funeral procession stopped at a Burger King where each mourner got a sandwich for the road.

Granted, as noted in other stories, Kime was a borderline diabetic and had a pacemaker but the guy was 88. George Burns smoked stogies until his 90s, so I think Kime earned his right to shovel grilled all-beef patties down his gullet. And it was that way until the very end. In fact, Kime's Whopper Jr. for the road was placed on his American-flag adorned coffin during the ceremony. Phiel said the display wasn't a joke, rather a happy way of honoring her father and the things that brought him joy.

See there, we are thinking the same thing. Two things would survive burial — a Twinkie and a fast-food burger, which leads us to the dilemma. Should BK embrace the life of a hero that walked through its doors every day to gorge on a Whopper Jr. or just sit there and take the jokes of "Well, it was the burgers that killed him"? Either way, Burger King is getting some divine PR out of this. And why? It's the human-interest angle. 

Most of the time, we know the mantra, "If it bleeds, it leads." While that may be true in the news, it's the touching human-interest stories that people remember, discuss, and embrace. I'm not the biggest fan of BK but I understand having a favorite dish to the point where if I was missing, I wouldn't be found on a milk carton...rather, a pizza box. I'm just sayin'. 

Back to the point: why wouldn't BK do a patriotic commercial about feeding the troops and bring up the memory of Mr. Kime? This is either a heartwarming story about a popular brand or a PR nightmare. Regardless, do you think you will forget to tell someone you know about this touching story? 

Yup, thought so. (Besides, we all know, it's the fries that will kill you.)

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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