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This week marks the release of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, a film that sees the director returning to the kind of adventure filmmaking that immortalized his career and established modern blockbuster filmmaking. This event has everyone looking back on the career of the legendary director, and Spielberg's name is everywhere at the moment. One company is trying to capitalize on all the Spielberg love in order to sell... hamburgers. Yes, fast food chain Carl's Jr. is paying tribute to the man himself by introducing SpielBurgers, though not if Warner Bros has anything to say about it. Take a look at Carl's Jr.'s initial pitch:
That's not bad. It teases something special and magical, complete with John Williams-esque music, before showing you a hamburger wearing VR goggles. How has no other company noticed this opening before? We should have been eating SpielBurgers for ages; a limited time culinary event, like the McRib or the Mulan Szechuan Sauce, coinciding with the release of each new Spielberg film. Perhaps Steven Spielberg is just particular about what amalgamation of salt and grease he slaps his name onto, although looking at some of the movies he's produced... Anyway, Warner Bros. was quick to put the kibosh on this burger campaign in a very 'matter of fact' fashion.
Aww, come on, Warner Bros., don't be such sticks in the mud. Nothing screams revolutionary technology and grand adventure quite like a tiny hamburger manufactured on a grand scale and sold to a demanding public. If anything, thanks to McDonald's Happy Meals, our pop culture has a longstanding history of intertwining with the fast food industry. Twitter is not a venue for de-escalation though, so this ratcheted up as the Carl's Jr. account asked for Steven Spielberg's contact info. Warner Bros. denied the request. At that point, Carl's Jr. responded in a way that tee'd up Warner Bros. perfectly to question the class of the fast food restaurant. Check it out:
Damn, burned almost as bad as those burgers! Questioning whether or not a company, whose commercials have featured half-naked women eating burgers, owns formal wear is brilliant. Still though, I think WB was going easy on Carl's Jr. Either that or it missed the opening. Personally, I would have gone for the jugular and remarked how, just like Ready Player One's OASIS, Carl's Jr.'s burgers almost look like the real thing. That's low-hanging fruit perhaps, but Carl's Jr. has a history of absurd and ridiculous marketing, so it should be able to laugh at itself. And it appears that Carl's Jr. may have had the last laugh anyways, as unlike most social media disputes, the fast food joint was ready to take it to the streets and put its burgers where its mouth is. Observe:
Staged? Almost certainly. But still, this is a fun little stunt. Personalizing each SpielBurger to represent one of the director's classic films, as well as Ready Player One, was a nice touch as well. A company's social media game has to be on point in today's market. Up until this point Wendy's has been the undisputed social media champ among fast food companies, but Carl's Jr. is clearly making a play for the crown. Ready Player One hits theaters on March 29. For all the latest in the ongoing fast food/movie industry wars, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.