BK Flame: Fire meets desire meets a light but constant nausea

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Smell me

Island Packet — First things first: If you do not want to read about a fragrant body spray currently being offered by the upmarket luxury merchant Burger King, then turn the page right now. Go on. Turn it. What are you waiting for? Oh, right, you’re not turning it at all, because you are wondering WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND TRUE WOULD MAKE BURGER KING PRODUCE ITS OWN FRAGRANCE, WHY HAVE I NOT HEARD OF THIS BEFORE AND WHAT THE NUGGETS WOULD SUCH A FAITHLESS EMULSION SMELL LIKE? Good questions. Thanks for not turning the page. Let’s go on, together.

Burger King, in its own terrible way, is sort of on a marketing roll. There was first, of course, a tremendous series of ads in which the Burger King himself materialized in bizarre locales unannounced, because when attempting to sell dirt-cheap loaves of partial meat, the clear best strategy involves tying them to a motionless dead-eyed stalker in a cape.

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More recently, Burger King was raked over the coals for a series of ads called “Whopper Virgins,” which was also the name of my high school newspaper, commercials in which yippy, pipsqueak BK pitch-knobs were supposedly dispatched to rural, civilization-free hinterlands like Greenland and Transylvania and Utah to offer blind taste tests between Whoppers and Big Macs; of course, the target subjects, who had somehow been forced to subsist for generations without benefit of consuming damp pickles pulled out of a 10-gallon tub with a soup ladle, reported preferring Whoppers, generally before immediately dying on the spot. The ads, critics said, smacked of the worst kind of ugly Americanism possible without somehow employing Lynyrd Skynyrd; defenders said, yeah that’s about right, and do you have Skynyrd’s number?

Anyway, as part of all this comes Flame, the supposed BK body-spray, which I’m guessing is a viral in-joke shooting to be the “Lazy Sunday” of the fast-food world, a bit of self-aware and transparent target-marketing, sort of like Sarah Palin. Flame has all the characteristics of being commissioned by a group of 20somethings who were commissioned by a group of doughy 60somethings after a meeting about making the new campaign “young” and “vibrant,” which would certainly explain the Web site, firemeetsdesire.com. Flame promises, and this is a real quote, “the scent of seduction with the hint of flame-broiled meat.” I guarantee you that somewhere there’s a windowless office full of giggling 23-year-olds with beards and a Google alert on “flame-broiled meat” high-fiving each other every time some pinhead like me writes about this, which sort of makes me insane, but is OK because I can do so while saying their company’s food tastes like it’s spent time underneath a carnival.

But get this, especially if you haven’t had your faith in humanity rocked to the core in a few weeks: Flame is SOLD OUT at NYC Ricky’s stores and online, the hipster blog Gothamist reported on Monday. So if you are looking to give someone a late present that says, “Baby, I love you, but I’d love you more if you made me think more of flash-fried Big Fish,” you’re basically toast.

So real or fake, let’s boil this story down to two things:

  1. If you’re going to base a cologne around a fast-food franchise, either go with White Castle or don’t go at all.
  2. This is kind of a fantastic idea. Really. And I am not just saying that because Burger King’s egg and cheese croissan’wiches are possibly the greatest fast-food ever created. They are magnificent. They’re like eating an angel. They’re literally the only breakfast sandwich in the world that you can kind of drink. I have been eating them more or less nonstop for 15 years and have loved each and every morsel, enough so that they’re totally worth the subsequent pounding chest pains. One time a buddy and I found a Burger King selling breakfast at 2 a.m. at a rest stop just off the highway somewhere in Florida, and it was possibly the greatest night of my life at the time, since that happened before I met “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Anyway, Flame retails for like $3.99, and I don’t know if there’s a relative price point for fast food-based colognes, but that seems pretty high to me, especially since you can buy a double-cheeseburger for 99 cents, unwrap it, and rub it all over your flesh to pretty much the same effect. So the Flame I can give or take. But if anyone wants to whip me up a croissan’wich, this would so be the best Christmas ever.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

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