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Creative Director’s Choice: Dave Damman of the Buntin Group on the 'Moldy Whopper' buzz


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

February 27, 2020 | 4 min read

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the best work and spotlight campaigns that are making a difference.

Moldy Whopper

The Moldy Whopper

This week, Dave Damman, executive vice-president, managing director and chief creative officer at the Buntin Group, talks about the success of the 'Moldy Whopper' campaign.

Dave Damman

Let’s face it: 95% of the advertising that surrounds us is what I’d call, ‘The Nothing Version’ – work that is tasteless, kind of dumb and overall joyless. The recent ‘Moldy Whopper’ effort from Burger King is surely none of those things. I believe it belongs in that rarified air of adverts that tend to make you think in ways you’ve never thought before. And, as a dedicated practitioner of the teachings of the late great Bill Bernbach, I have to believe Mr Bill is somewhere in the universe pointing to this idea and smiling.

“The magic is in the product.… No matter how skillful you are, you can’t invent a product advantage that doesn’t exist. And if you do, and it’s just a gimmick, it’s going to fall apart anyway,” once stated Bernbach.

We were at a high watermark with the ‘Whopper Secret.’ And now this. Appetite appeal an issue for you? Well, scroll the time-lapse in reverse. I’m guessing our sense of sight is not nearly as connected to appetite appeal as strongly as is our sense of smell or taste. Now, if this were a scratch-and-sniff print ad, then it would be a different story.

The execution? Flawless. The beauty and art in the imagery, the simplistic titles and edit – all help elevate the idea to a place that isn’t about selling this burger on how it looks, but rather on what it stands for. So not ‘The Nothing Version.’

There are two requirements for great work: Work that persuades and work that avoids ‘The Nothing Version.’ Our job is to make a brand the most interesting part of a consumer’s day. I’d wager this effort accomplishes that. It’s a great example of pushing off from the enemy without going low and getting into a street fight. It’s also a great example of advertising jujitsu – using the competition’s own power against them. The enemy isn’t just all other QSR burgers. Now, it’s preservatives themselves. It’s certainly changed the way we look at the Whopper, which in turn makes you see it as you’ve never seen it before. Noble, indeed.

Dave Damman is the recently-appointed executive vice-president, managing director and chief creative officer at Nashville-based the Buntin Group.

See the spot by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Creative Works editor Kyle O’Brien.

Burger King: The Moldy Whopper by INGO STHLM, David Miami & Publicis

By Burger King

Overall Rating 4/5

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