Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart on Burger King’s latest marketing attraction in London
London: TheLeicester Square “Flameship” branch of Burger King announced recently that it will display a work by Damien Hirst until the end of the year. Titled ‘Beautiful Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over Your Face, Flame Grilled Painting, 2003’, it is part of the artist’s well know series of ‘spin paintings’. The second part of the title perfectly fits with Burger King’s style since the company often highlights their flame-grilled items in many of their ads.
The painting has been installed in the upper floor of the fast-food franchise, and will be protected by reinforced glass to avoid splashes of ketchup and stains from chips.
The decision to hang this painting by Damien Hirst was taken, predicting the advent of hordes of tourists that would visit Burger King given that the Olympic Games are being held in London this summer. The company also thought it would be a good marketing move, attracting more people to its outlets, especially since one of its competitors, McDonalds, is sponsoring the Olympic Games.
Django Fung, the Leicester Square franchisee, commented on the issue, saying, “I love the novelty of Damien’s artwork being in such an unexpected place. Art should be accessible to everyone, especially in such a busy summer, and putting this painting in our new look Burger King restaurant in such a high-profile location does just that.” Fung, according to the company, is also a personal friend of Hirst’s.
The artist has already donated an artwork to another restaurant in London, Tramshed. This time the donation, titled ‘Cock and Bull’, consisted of a Hereford cow and cockerel preserved in a steel glass tank of formaldehyde.
While, the Tramshed Hirst may either inspire or discourage its customers to eat at the restaurant (it would definitely discourage me), at least Burger King chose a more subtle work, not as provocative but still showcasing Hirst’s characteristic style.