Cross-Cultural Marketing 101: Offensiveness is in the eye of the beholder

Burger King's Ad Mistake

Burger King has drawn criticism since yesterday for showing a couple westerners eating burgers with giant chopsticks in an ad. Though some western folks believe the ad harmless and clever in using deliberate provocation for publicity, others claim it racist and outrageous.

Being funny is one thing, but making fun of another culture is different, especially customers of the anther culture are feeding your bottomline. After all, offensiveness is in the eye of the beholder. Making fun of your customers or their cultures is not the way to get the best bang for your marketing bucks, regardless of your intentions. 

Our two cents: Burger King marketing team should get some cultural awareness training, and be humble. Making fun of Berger King itself is always a good place to start with.