Burger King Launches 'Real Meals,' Because No One's Happy All the Time

New product is tied to Mental Health Awareness Month

As if McDonald's Happy Meal mascot weren't off-putting enough on its own, Burger King is now dismissing the whole idea of the Happy Meal as one-dimensional and false—with its own introduction of "Real Meals," designed to empathize with those experiencing less simplistic emotions. 

Five different Real Meals—the Pissed Meal, Blue Meal, Salty Meal, YAAAS Meal and DGAF Meal—are rolling out today at five individual BK restaurants in Austin, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles and New York City. They represent angry, sad, ornery, excited and apathetic. ("DGAF," for the uninitiated, stands for "Don't give a fuck.") 

The Real Meal boxes contain a Whopper, fries and a drink. The work is from MullenLowe U.S. 

Here's a gallery of product shots: 

The campaign ties into Mental Health Awareness Month, which starts today. The "Real Meals" are meant to acknowledge, in part, that life isn't perfect and that it's OK to feel negative emotions—even if there's added pressure to hide them today.

"With the pervasive nature of social media, there is so much pressure to appear happy and perfect. With Real Meals, the Burger King brand celebrates being yourself and feeling however you want to feel," BK says in a press release. 

The campaign includes an interesting musical video, directed by Jared Knecht at m ss ng p ces, in which characters sing about not being happy. It's a callback to the classic BK musical spots from the '70s, which were happy in the extreme—but here the classic "Have It Your Way" line is ditched for the line, "All I ask is that you let me feel my way." (The spot was shot in 35-millimeter, adding to the retro vibe.) 

Tim Kvasnosky at Butter Music & Sound composed the new original track. 

Burger King | #FeelYourWay

As is often the case with Burger King work lately, the new campaign nicely combines an array of modern marketing techniques to create something new and different. It mixes product development, packaging, film, music, social good, honesty, local-market testing and an underdog spirit into one compelling, PR-able package. 

It also fits the "Have It Your Way" positioning nicely, similar to what "Bullying Jr." did in 2017—another social cause that made sense for the brand.

The Real Meals arrive in the same week that BK announced another innovative product move—it plans to roll out the meatless Impossible Whopper nationally after a successful test in St. Louis. 



Client: Burger King 
Global Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King: Fernando Machado
Head of Global Brand, Burger King: Marcelo Pascoa
Head of Marketing, Burger King North America, Renato Rossi
Advertising, Media and Communications, Burger King North America: Diego Suarez
Media, Traditional, Digital and Social, Burger King North America: Jorge Oliveira
Social Media and Digital Marketing, Burger King North America: Flavia Guetter
Advertising and Merchandising, Burger King North America:  Nicole Alevizos
Advertising, Burger King North America:  Liza Keller
Media, Traditional and Digital, Burger King North America: Madeline McDermott

Agency: MullenLowe US
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino
Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist
Executive Creative Director: Scott Hayes 
SVP, Group Creative Director: Scott Stripling 
SVP, Creative Director: Enrique Camacho
SVP, Creative Director, Digital and Social: Dustin Johnson
Associate Creative Director: Jennifer MacFarlane
Associate Creative Director: Cody Dummer
Director of Integrated Design: Michael Molinaro
Associate Creative Director: Allison Hughes
Sr. Copywriter: Tara Nelson 
Art Director: Britney Drotleff
Copywriter: Vanessa deBeaumont
SVP Executive Director of Integrated Production: Lisa Setten 
SVP, Head of Integrated Production: Zeke Bowman
VP, Executive Producer: Brian Smith
Sr. Producer: Vera Everson
VP, Director of Art Production: Tracy Maidment
Director of Print Production: Aidan Finnan
Content Producer: Abbey Daniel-Green
Animator: Ryan Dight
Animator: Andrew Lee
Sr. Photographer: Erika LaPresto
Digital Imaging Supervisor: Nick Bleil
Sr. Digital Imaging Artist: Alex Abdalian
Senior Production Artist: Nat Novak
VP, Group Strategy Director: Mike Cassell
Social Content Writer: Arielle Mulgrew
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Amy Keddy
Sr. Project Manager: Kelly Benson
Project Manager: Tia Coulter
VP Account Director: Kerry McKibbin
Account Supervisor: Alison Whisenant
Sr. Account Executive: Caroline Bailey
Account Executive: Leila Chee

Production Company: Missing Pieces
Director: Jared Knecht 
Editorial: Friendshop  
Editor: Alex Pirrone
Assistant Editors: Lauren Hayes & Josh Nowlan
Motion Graphics: Rebecca Bolde
Managing Director/Executive Producer: Melissa Mapes
Producer: Laura Shackleford

Color: MPC NY
Colorist: James Tillett
Color Producer: Jenna Gabriel

VFX supervisor: Rob Walker
Compositor: David Anger
Producer (VFX): Carlos Zalapa

Original Music: Butter Music & Sound
Managing Director: Ian Jeffreys
Composer/ECD: Tim Kvasnosky
ECD, Butter: Aaron Kotler
CCO, Butter: Andrew Sherman

Audio Post: Sound Lounge NY
Sound Design/Mixer: Tom Jucarone
Producer: Alicia Rodgers

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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