Tennis great Rafael Nadal didn’t compete against Ronald McDonald at the French Open, but he was close enough for Burger King’s purposes. Burger King France tweeted an image that showed the result of Nadal’s comfortable win over his opponent, “M. McDonald,” on September 30. That would be Mackenzie McDonald, an American currently ranked 236th globally – no match for Nadal, whom ATP ranks No. 2. The American’s name was close enough to Burger King’s competitor that BK France chose to use the graphic to slam McDonald’s. Along with the picture, Burger King France tweeted to Nadal, “You’re probably still hungry.” Essentially Sports points out; the line works as a sports metaphor because Nadal is undoubtedly hungry for more victories. If he wins this year’s French Open, it’ll be his 20th win in a Grand Slam tournament, which would tie the record.
But as a dig on McDonald’s, the tweet was a stretch. It would have helped if tennis-player McDonald’s first initial was “R,” or if his name was “G. Arches.” Either because the joke fell flat or for some other reason, Burger King deleted the tweet. It’s not as if BK was asked to cease and desist because McDonald’s and Nadal have an endorsement deal or anything. Nadal’s sponsorship tastes run more toward luxury watches.
Burger King’s Jab
We can add this latest online jab – as short-lived as it was – to the long list of occasions when one fast-food chain trolled another on social media. Burger King Denmark just went to the trouble of responding to thousands of people who had complained to McDonald’s on Facebook, offering them free Whoppers. Burger King and Wendy’s have been known to exchange blows over Twitter, with Wendy’s recently getting in a lick about Burger King’s spicy chicken nuggets. After McDonald’s announced it was joining the spicy nugget game, Wendy’s was merciless on Twitter as it managed to roast McDonald’s and Burger King both: “Must have scraped up all of BKs leftovers and slapped Mcprice tag on it.”
In a separate arena of the fast-food chicken wars, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A have been going after each other, too. The Twitter war the two chicken chains engaged in last year contributed to the most viral menu item of 2019: the Popeyes chicken sandwich. The fast-food feuds have endured on social media for the past few years because they make an impression on all those highly coveted customers out there, and they help big corporations look a little more human. So we expect more creative acts of trolling from Burger King and their ilk in the future.