Burger King may be fast food royalty but its latest marketing stunt has angered a real life royal family.
Ahead of the grand opening of the Whopper chain’s first Belgian store in June, an online marketing campaign is asking the people of Belgium to choose between the country’s real King Philippe—the reigning monarch since 2013—and the Whopper chain’s famous mascot.
Running on whoistheking.be, the opening graphics state, “Two Kings. One crown. Who will rule? Vote now.”
According to Mashable, users who vote for Philippe are prompted to reconsider their choice asking "Are you sure? He won't be the one to cook your fries."
On the website, King Philippe is represented by a cartoon but according to the BBC, the royal family must be contacted if a company wishes to use a likeness of any member of the monarchy. The spokesman says Burger King never made any attempt to get such a campaign approved.
"We disapprove of this approach," royal spokesman Pierre Emmanuel de Bauw said. "Since it is for commercial purposes, we would not have given our authorization [sic]."
Voting online runs through June 19, with the chain scheduled to open its first Belgian location at the end of next month.
Shana Van den Broeck, a spokeswoman for Burger Brands Belgium which owns Burger King overseas, told news agency EFE it had not received any formal communication from the monarchy but is carefully considering how to move forward telling Reuters, “We are deliberating on how to proceed. Should we make a change to our campaign we would communicate that."