Burger King is under fire after allegedly stealing YouTube comic Billy Eichner’s “Billy On the Street” act in a recent commercial. The Burger King ad features a man sticking a microphone in people’s faces to ask them about the new chicken nuggets. The man runs around screaming and is very strange in general.
This act is exactly what Eichner does on his YouTube channel. He has become well known for running around the streets of New York asking random people random questions and often yelling at them for comedic effect.
It’s easy to see why many are ripping Burger King for stealing Eichner’s act. They even picked an actor that looks like Billy. The best part about this situation is the various celebrities that have called out Burger King for their plagiarism. In the Internet age, it’s impossible to rip off an idea and avoid being called out for doing so. Props to Eichner and his fellow comics for putting Burger King on blast.
The most interesting question to take away from this: if Burger King knew about the stolen idea, why did they create this series of advertisements? I feel like they had no idea and just accepted the ads from an agency that consciously ripped off Eichner’s bit. It was a lazy move on the part of the agency and it will surely backfire. No company will want to work with an ad agency that is willing to steal ideas from other people and recycle them. It makes Burger King look bad and generates the wrong kind of buzz for the product they were advertising.
What do you think? Is this a form of plagiarism? Or is Eichner overreacting?
Can you think of any other examples of an advertisement imitating another form of media?
“That’s So Wrong – Burger King Chicken Nuggets TV Commercial.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .
“Billy on the Street: Lightning Round (Featuring ‘Name 3 White People’ & More).” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .