Love to Hate You: The Bizarre World of Burger King and Trent T. Reznor

A recent phenomenon that is almost a reverse corollary to snark fandom (being part of a fandom, yet poking fun of the object of that fandom) is object de fandom creating campaigns seemingly designed to make all of your biggest fans leave in disgust. Of course, the RIAA is the best recent example. But there have been other recent notable examples, including Prince trying to shut down several “big name fan” websites and Burger King’s Whopper Freakout.

I don’t understand the point — people are content with things the way they are, so instead of giving them more as a means to support you, you give them less? And in the case of the “Whopper is gone forever for only one day only”, you make fun of your most dedicated customers, the ones who have been customers since childhood! Another recent example of this “buy our product/support me no matter what, you dummies” was Coke vs. Coke, where an ad campaign (using actual Coke lawyers!) was based on the idea of Original Coke suing Coke Zero for “taste infringement.” The point? Our lawyers will sue anyone, so buy our product ?!? (Complete with a “sue your friend” website).

I find the Freakout especially objectionable because it has been edited specifically to make Whopper fans look desperate; “editing the commercial this way just makes people look like bigger idiots than they are — a cheap shot by both Burger King and Crispin Porter[, the makers of this ad campaign].” As this blogger puts it: “And for the record, seeing people freak out isn’t exactly a universal appetite enhancer.”

On the other hand, making fun of your fans can be acceptable, if it is reciprocated. Nine Inch Nails fandom is rife with snark — with fans making fun of the band and the man — and Trent handing it right back to fans. Oddly enough, this name-calling has become an integral part of being in the mainstream Nine Inch Nails fan community. However, unlike Burger King’s campaign against its customers, Nine Inch Nails’ fans consider it their duty to make fun of and be made fun of by their object de fandom.

(picture: Mos Burger! — but not of the awesome kinpira burger)

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