Burger King has apologized for an ad run during the World Cup, promising Russian women a lifetime supply of free Whoppers if they got impregnated by a pro soccer player.
The burger seller ran the “humorous” ad on the Russian social media platform VKontaket (VK) offering a payment of $47,000 and a lifetime supply of its signature sandwich, according to USA Today.
BK said that the offer was open to “girls who manage to get the best football genes” and urged women to “lay down the success of the Russian national football team.” The ad continued saying, “It is a reward for the girls who would get pregnant from the international football superstars.”
But the company removed the ad admitting that it was offensive.
In a statement, Burger King noted that its own promotion was “clearly offensive.”
“As soon as it was brought to our attention, we had it removed,” the statement read. “It certainly does not reflect our brand or our values, and we are taking steps to ensure this type of activity does not happen again.”
The ad may not seem too unusual considering that the Russian government itself has launched public service announcements urging Russian women to get pregnant for the health of the state. Indeed, Mikhail Degtyarov, a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, recently exclaimed that he wanted to see “more love” during the World Cup and urged Russian women to have more babies even if they are fathered by foreigners.
Also, last year, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin even sponsored a program to allot Russian women more government payments if they become pregnant.
Despite this history, at least one Russian politician criticized Burger King’s attempt at World Cup humor.
“It is a very stupid campaign … from the hellish people of the fast-food chain,” Russian State Duma leader Vitaly Milonov said of the ad. “(They are) trying to attract attention, not by improving the quality, but through silly offers.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.