YouTube/ Burger King
You’re most likely familiar with Burger King’s “The King,” the creepy mascot wearing the big king mask who popped up in the majority of Burger King’s ad campaigns between the years of 2003 and 2011. But did you know that his roots actually go back as far as the chain’s earliest days?
The Burger King first showed up on print ads for the chain in the 1950s, soon after the company’s founding (holding a giant soda cup and sitting on a “burger throne,” naturally), and by the late 1960s he morphed into a small, pudgy king who presented children with gifts in commercials before announcing “Burger King, where kids are king!”
In the late 1970s, when McDonald’s McDonaldland characters (including Grimace, the Hamburglar, and Mayor McCheese) first rose to prominence, the King got an overhaul as well as a new name: the Marvelous Magical Burger King. A tall, red-bearded Tudor-era king, he’s the one that the most recent King was modeled after; in fact, the idea for the King mask came to an employee at the ad agency after finding a 1970s-era mask on eBay.
Even though The King (who came to be known as “the Creepy King”) was unofficially retired from advertisements in 2011, his oversized, grinning, unmoving visage popping up in unexpected places with Burger King menu items in hand. The King has taken a long, strange journey from being a legitimate mascot to its current role as a guerrilla marketing stunt, but so be it. Read on for five things you may not have known about “The Burger King.”