I have 561 Facebook friends. I might only talk to about 65 of them on a regular basis, maybe as many as 200 if you include miscellaneous birthday wishes. My roommate has 707. In a conversation with one of my guy friends the other day, he lamented having 40 less friends then me, and has since acquired an average of 7 a day. (He feels much better about himself now.) Sadly, I accepted a friend request from my best friend’s little sister’s babysitter’s aunt the other day. Houston, we have a problem.
Luckily, Burger King has the answer. It’s called the Whopper Sacrifice. Trade 10 of your friends in exchange for a free whopper! (Vegetarians, this includes you too, as their veggie patties are included in this promotion.) In an effort to combine the social networking program that seems to have become a form of life support for its users with a rather ingenious marketing ploy, Burger King launched an idea early January that would “put our fair-weather friendships to the test.” Jeff Benjamin, executive interactive creative director at Crispen, the brains behind the madness, said, “It’s asking the question of which love is bigger, your love for your friends, or your love for the Whopper.”
And this application doesn’t mess around; when Facebook says sacrifice, they mean sacrifice. Once a friend has been deleted using the Whopper Sacrifice application, a notification shows up on the news feed letting not only the discarded friend, but the world, know that you think they are worth 1/10th of a hamburger. This calculates out to about 24 cents. To limit the amount of free Whoppers one could earn through this offer it is plausible that Burger King took safety precautions. For instance, Burger King could have set it up so that Facebook actually tracks the 10 friends you delete and makes sure they stay deleted. This would be so that people aren’t just deleting and then re-adding friends. Before making the cut, the user is also warned, “Each friend will be notified, so choose wisely.”
People went wild at the onset of this application and literally ate it up. Facebook users who already secretly desired a reason to downsize their list of “friends” were finally given one: free food. After deleting the necessary 10, a coupon was mailed to the user which could then be redeemed for their delicious flame-broiled heart attack. It was foolproof. However, the whole “You are worth 24 cents” notification did present a dilemma, one that proved easily fixable. The Facebook group “Whopper Sacrifice Network” quickly sprang up and provided the answer. Simply join the group, and anyone in the group has free reign to add and then sacrifice, no strings attached. A sample message was provided for what to say when requesting your 24 cent-friend: “‘Sup fool. I would like to create a false pretense of a misrepresented friendship, in order to take advantage of it, along with Burger King, to reap rewards for myself, and enjoy a delicious burger, all with the comfort of never feeling guilty for sacrificing a friend that I actually care for.”
But unfortunately, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and the Whopper Sacrifice application was no exception. Turns out, the Facebook powers that be weren’t too thrilled about the negative energy being spread throughout its cyber-friendly space, claiming the deletion notifications ran counter to the social network’s claims to the privacy of its members. Although Facebook offered to let the application remain in existence with the simple amendment of removing the deletion notifications, a Facebook spokesperson stated that “Burger King and the developer of the application decided to conclude their campaign rather than continue with the restrictions we placed on their application” during the week of the Jan. 16.
Now at the end of its run, the homepage of this ingenious marketing strategy boasts that the “Whopper Sacrifice has been sacrificed. In the end, your love for the Whopper Sandwich proved to be stronger than 233,906 friendships.” Luckily for all of those who were ruthlessly disposed, at the bottom of the page Burger King offers the ultimate comeback: “Were you sacrificed by somebody? Send them an angry gram.” And upon clicking the link, the heartbroken, ex-friend is given the opportunity to send a message to the accusing party via talking Whopper. Oh what will they think of next.
Although I found out about this phenomenon ex-post-facto, and might not have partaken even had I known, I believe it questions the real worth of our friends. More importantly, it addresses society’s inability to risk offending people.
An unaccepted friend request is not going to send someone leaping off the nearest cliff, and if it does, there are more serious problems at hand. People, it is okay to ignore friend requests. An inflated list of friends does not make you look cool; it makes you look weak. Let’s be honest. We all know you don’t talk to over half of the people on your friend list, much less remember how you know them. So in the spirit of the Whopper, join me as I continue the revolution and delete. I’m sorry, best friend’s little sister’s babysitter’s aunt, but you’re the first to go.