5 Things You Didn't Know About 'The Burger King'

‘The King’ has been around since Burger King’s earliest days

5 Things You Didn't Know About 'The 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?

He Was Voiced by a Legendary Voice Actor in His Earliest TV Appearances

During The King’s time as a cartoon character, he was voiced by legendary voice-over actor Allen Swift, who supplied voices for some of the most legendary cartoons to ever air, including Underdog, Tom and Jerry, The Popeye Show, and Howdy Doody.

He Once Ruled the ‘Burger King Kingdom’

A whole cast of Burger King characters was introduced to compete with the McDonaldland characters, including Sir Shake-a-Lot, the Burger Thing, the Duke of Doubt, and the Wizard of Fries. 

He Was Shelved in Favor of Showcasing Ingredients

YouTube/ Burger King, Shutterstock/ LDProd

The King was somewhat of a hit with young guys when his new commercials debuted in the early 2000s, but even executives at the chain itself recognized that he was creepy and scared away women and kids. He didn’t help with sales much, either, so in 2011 he was retired in favor of a campaign that focused on the chain’s use of fresh ingredients. 

His Recent Appearances Have Been Quite Unpredictable

While he hasn’t appeared in many Burger King commercials since 2011, The King has appeared in several guerrilla marketing campaigns this year. In May, Burger King paid $1 million to have him included in Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s entourage during his recent fight with Manny Pacquiao, and horse trainer Bob Baffert was paid $200,000 to allow The King to stand behind him during the Belmont Stakes. He made his first commercial appearance since 2011 in June 2015 to help promote the chain’s chicken nuggets. 

The Masks Have Sold for Hundreds of Dollars

In 2005, King masks went on sale on bkmasks.com, and even though they weren’t promoted anywhere they quickly sold out. They appeared on eBay for hundreds of dollars, but today they cost slightly less than that.