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Remember when fast food promotions were almost entirely focused on kid-centric pop culture like He-Man and Hot Wheels and, like, Felix the Cat maybe? These days, I half expect to be asked which NCIS franchise I'd prefer when ordering a McDonald's Happy Meal for one of my kids. One show that's riding the wave of adult-driven merchandising is Netflix's Stranger Things, which is unleashing a wave of customized goods on the world surrounding Season 3's premiere in July. Goods such as the Upside-Down Whopper.
Yes, Burger King has announced a partnership with Netflix and Coca-Cola for which the fast food chain will serve Upside-Down Whoppers at selection locations on Friday, June 21. You can check out the tweet announcement, but it's really just a slow reveal of the "specialized" Whopper meal seen below, complete with Stranger Things font and music.
Instead of some unique or creatively silly idea to connect the world of Stranger Things to Burger King's menu, the marketing team essentially knocked the Whopper over and dashed to the timeclock tout de suite. Granted, this isn't as ridiculous and/or dangerous as, say, serving Whoppers made out of iron and spiders for the release of Avengers: Endgame, or fries that look like rotted fingers for the Season 5 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.
But for real, an upside-down hamburger is hardly haute tie-in cuisine. I can hear the the mad scientists in Denny's test kitchen howling with laughter from here as they work on their "Just-eggs for Bob and Barb" and their "(Better Than Eggo) Waffle" dishes.
I fully understand that this is Burger King's usual tongue-in-cheek way of creating a buzz for its menu items, in the vein of the bowel-distorting Black Whopper served for Halloween. (Let's not discuss or napkin-doodle what an Upside-Down Whopper might do to someone's poop.) Still, it feels like a half-conceived ploy from all involved.
After all, Stranger Things Season 3 has already influenced the temporary resurgence of New Coke! That also sounds like a disaster, to be sure, but at least it's inspired.
While awaiting Burger King dish that will make the burger patty THE TOPPING for the rest of the condiments and things, let's brainstorm how other Stranger Things promotions should go.
What Other Companies' Stranger Things Campaigns Should Be
Pizza Hut: Buy one large pizza, get another large pizza put in same box, upside down.
Starbucks: Upside down coffee. Note: might need many temp hires to clean up messes.
Wendy's: The Baconator is served right side up, but you have to eat it with your feet.
Taco Bell: 7-Layer Burritos on their sides
Lyft: Discounted rides for anyone who gets into the vehicles upside down.
AMC Theaters: All films are screened upside-down.
Major League Baseball: Batters have to hold their bats on the opposite end.
Bob's Hourglass Shack: I feel like this bit has fully run its course now.
Stranger Things characters and logos are everywhere these days, showing up on backpacks and refrigerator magnets and blankets and video games and just about everything in between. Chances are, it'll only get bigger with Season 3, which is said to be combining the best elements of the previous two seasons, with mall antics thrown in for good measure.
The official Season 3 synopsis was recently revealed, so check out what fans can expect from Stranger Things and its emotional peaks and valleys in July.
It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer’s heating up. School’s out, there’s a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town’s threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now they’ll have to band together to survive, and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.
So remember, everyone. Just in case your own personal sense of equilibrioception is off and you can't nail down a center of gravity, there's a hamburger out there that fits your needs and won't put you at risk of being consumed by demonic forces.
Just head to one of Burger King's selected locations on Friday, June 21, to have someone at Burger King you a purposefully mishandled burger, instead of an incidentally mishandled burger. And don't forget that Stranger Things Season 3 will be hitting Netflix on Thursday, July 4, at 12:01 a.m. PT.