Bad news for Memphis fast-food junkies: Local Burger King signs reading "Global Warming Is Baloney" aren't a tone-deaf marketing campaign for some delicious new sandwich. Darn it.
On the other hand, ecologically minded consumers can breathe a little easier knowing that Burger King Corporation (BKC), the company that licenses Burger King franchises, isn't going on the warpath against global-warming science.
When the Flyer called the Burger King at the corner of Union and Pauline, the manager initially denied the sign existed.
"I don't see that, sir," she said repeatedly, insisting that she personally changes the signs. She eventually called back and confessed that the sign was real and had been put up the day before at the request of her superiors.
On Friday, May 29th, Susan Robison, vice president of corporate communications for Burger King, e-mailed the Flyer BKC's official statement regarding the signs.
"['Global Warming Is Baloney'] does not reflect a BKC opinion or view. The two restaurants where these signs appeared are independently owned and operated and were not authorized to display this statement. The signs have since been removed.
"BKC believes in operating as a socially responsible company and is committed to making a positive impact in the communities where it lives and works."
When asked if the message had been removed from other Burger Kings, Robison said she would look into it but was only aware of the two locations mentioned on the Flyer's website.
Since the original posting, however, many readers had noticed that BKs from Batesville, Mississippi, to Martin, Tennessee, were comparing global warming to the popular lunch meat. The stores in question are all operated by a Memphis-based fast-food management company called MIC, which operates more than 40 BKs, as well as three Popeye's and five All-in-One's. Bob Cook, MIC's president of retail operations, did not respond to requests for comment.
"Our field person ... confirmed to me that as far as he knows, it was only five restaurants, and the signs have since been removed," Robison reported, although by then 10 signs had been confirmed.
"Although we can't agree on the specific number of restaurants, the important point is that we have been assured by the franchisee that the signs have been removed," Robison said. "Under the franchise agreement, we do not allow the reader board, the restaurant, or any other advertising/promotional vehicles to promote any specific political and/or religious beliefs."