Burger King's Apology for Hindu Goddess Ad Is Not the First of Its Kind

Last Updated Jul 9, 2009 1:43 PM EDT

Owners of Burger King restaurants in India might want to shut their doors for a couple of days in case their sites are trashed by Hindus angry that the chain used an image of the goddess Lakshmi sitting on top of a meat sandwich in an ad (pictured).

The ad ran in Spain and has since been withdrawn. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)

Ask Saatchi & Saatchi what happened when they used images of hindu gods in their advertising for a Goa tour operator, Cox & Kings. Hindus ransacked Cox & Kings' office, and the company blamed Saatchi for publishing the ad without its consent. A local newspaper was forced to run a front page apology simply for carrying the ad.

In the Saatchi ads, Lord Laxmi was shown sitting next to a chubby kid eating wafers, and Lord Hanuman was shown taking pictures with a camera.

This is not the first time Burger King has courted controversy. Some of it's latest ads seem to be deliberately offensive, including one that contained a non-subtle reference to oral sex.

Not all hindus react with violence to ads featuring humorous religious references, of course. BNET reader Divya noted in the comments section of this post:

... to be fair, trashing the client's office was taking things too far. However, the Shiv Sena (organisation behind the attack on the Client's office) is well known for their violence and hardline views.
Burger King said:
We are apologising because it wasn't our intent to offend anyone
See a different take over at BNET Food.