It was announced over the weekend that Burger King (the restaurant) is retiring the most royal of mascots … “The King”.
Burger King first opened its doors back in 1954, and although “The King” has gone through several redesigns throughout the years, he’s always been part of the company’s brand.
Here’s a picture from TVAcres.com of a Burger King doll from the 1980s.
Unfortunately Burger King’s “King” was never as strong of a character as Ronald McDonald or even a Fry Guy. As a result, the King made few television appearances from the 1950s all the way up through the 1990s.
(Eagle-eyed Retroist fans should have spotted Elizabeth Shue and Andrew McCarthy in that clip. If you did, good job!)
In the late 2000s, Burger King tried to revamp the King’s image by making him … creepier. In a series of television commercials, the King would randomly appear and deliver people food.
I’m pretty sure accepting a breakfast sandwich from a strange adult who you’ve just discovered was sleeping in your bed pretty much breaks every “Stranger Danger” rule I learned in grade school.
This newer, creepier King became so popular for a short period of time that three Xbox 360 games were released starring The King. Each game was $3.99. My favorite of the three was Sneak King, a game in which you, as the Burger King, had to sneak up on people and deliver them sandwiches. The first level had you, dressed as The Burger King, sneaking up on working loggers — guys actively using chainsaws and axes. This has “bad idea” written all over it.
Over the weekend, Burger King (the company) announced that in an effort to reinvent itself, it will be moving away from the mascot. Maybe The King will be Burger King’s response to McDonald’s McRib, and will only make yearly appearances.
If you really start missing The King, keep in mind that Halloween is right around the corner, and Burger King costumes, especially over the past few years, have been a big hit.