In its new TV commercials that premiered Thursday, Burger King appears to be selling the sizzle without the sizzle.
Two spots highlighting the fast food chain's summer BBQ menu are conspicuously missing the star attraction -- the Bacon Sundae.
The 510-calorie soft-serve vanilla dessert, featuring bacon crumbles and a piece of bacon, gorged on publicity this week. The concoction was heaped with criticism by some health advocates and debated by foodies.
The dessert packs 510 calories, 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar, not one of which is on display in the commercials.
The two spots released Thursday (you'll have to view the link because the embed code was disabled at deadline) are montages. One, "Let's Have A BBQ Today," shows citizens improving an ordinary day by having an impromptu barbecue at work and play with BK's new menu, including its Memphis Pulled Pork Sandwiches, sweet potato fries and Frozen Lemonade. Another ad, "It's BBQ Day," celebrates Americana, with flash scenes around a swimming pool, pond, baseball diamond and other summer venues.
Both ads emphasize BK's new tagline "Taste Is King." Neither shows us pig and soft swirl together.
Asked to explain the strategy, Burger King didn't really say why it left the sundae out of its ads, but did write in an email to HuffPost: "The BK® Bacon Sundae is not currently on air on TV, but is part of the Summer BBQ communication platform (which also includes digital, restaurant merchandising, etc.) and will be advertised as part of the campaign moving forward."
Perhaps BK marketers anticipated all the free buzz that the sundae would generate from just the announcement of it, so it saw no need to promote the sundae in a paid 30-second spot.
One analyst said the company might have realized that consumers' appetite for the sundae was limited. "It may have tested more appealing to the novelty-item consumer or that adventuresome dude-food segment," said Karen Post, the author of "Brand Turnaround."