Belgium outrage over woman punched in burger ad
Belgium’s advertising regulator said Wednesday it has clocked up hundreds of complaints over a viral hamburger ad showing a comic-book version of a man punching a woman for handing him the wrong sandwich. Consumers and politicians called the online ad “sickening” and “irresponsible”, saying it went directly against public campaigns denouncing domestic violence. The ad, published on Facebook, aimed to publicise a Belgian hamburger brand, Bicky Burger.
Its cartoon style borrowed from 1950s and 1960s American pop-art made famous by artist Roy Lichtenstein and by a panel from a 1965 comic showing Batman slapping his sidekick Robin that has been reworked into a long-running internet meme. The Bicky Burger ad depicts a man in a suit swinging his fist to violently hit a woman carrying a fast-food container as he exclaims: “Seriously, a fake Bicky?” The head of Belgium’s regulatory Advertising Council, Sandrine Sepul, said the agency had received 300 complaints from the public in 24 hours.
She said that a Dutch food company, Izico, commissioned the advertisement and her agency had transmitted the complaints to its counterpart in the Netherlands. Izico was ordered to explain itself, she said, adding that possible punishment could be decided “in a few weeks”.
Belgian media ran indignant reports on the controversy, which led to the ad being pulled from Facebook. Le Soir newspaper asked how such an advertising campaign could be created in 2019 when, in Belgium, “every 10 days a man kills his wife or his ex. And every day a number of women are humiliated, raped, beaten.”