Doing laundry. Cooking dinner. On a video call for work.
These are all times I’ve found myself singing in my head. Ringing through my brain is, “WHOPPER, WHOPPER, WHOPPER, WHOPPER.”
Walking the streets: Whopper, Whopper, Whopper, Whopper. Showering: Whopper. Staring in the middle distance, considering the fragility and absurdity of life: WHOPPER, WHOPPER, WHOPPER, WHOPPER.
Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. The rest of you probably don’t watch sports. That’s because if you watch any sports at all — I am, at best, a casual fan — then you’ve seen and, more importantly, heard the same damn Burger King commercial over and over.
That damn Whopper song. It is undeniably a hit of a jingle. And, after like 1,000 listens, it is undoubtedly a ditty that tunnel into your brain like a beef-themed parasite. NFL fans, especially, are haunted by the jingle. Most diehard fans spend entire Sundays in front of the TV and, for whatever reason, Burger King must think NFL people also like fast food. I maybe watch bits of a single game each week and even I feel like I could recite the lyrics in their entirety.
“Whopper, Whopper, Whopper, Whopper,
Junior, double, triple whopper,
Impossible or bacon whopper,
I rule this day,
At BK, have it your way,
The song is sung in an almost monotone, talky singing voice. It sounds remarkably like actor and I Think You Should Leave stalwart Sam Richardson. In fact, until writing this article I was sure he sang it. Richardson, likely getting countless exasperated complaints, posted on Twitter that it was not him behind the jingle.
The song, from Chicago-based ad agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul is technically(Opens in a new window) called “You Rule,” and is a riff on BK’s 1970s jingle “Have it Your Way(Opens in a new window),” but everyone knows “Whopper Whopper Whopper Whopper” is its actual name.
With this ditty lasered into their temporal lobe, sports fans began turning the Whopper jingle into a meme. It’s sort of a variation on the Curb Your Enthusiasm music — it enters at inopportune times or when things get weird. About to be a big play? Whopper, Whopper, Whopper, Whopper(Opens in a new window). Wedding entrance? That’s right: Whopper(Opens in a new window). When your team has a crushing defeat? Yep(Opens in a new window). The Whopper memes are everywhere.
Worse (or better?) yet, there are a number of different variations on “Whopper Whopper Whopper Whopper.” For instance, there’s the longer version(Opens in a new window) that goes into burger toppings and the like. You’re simply never safe from a Whopper ambush.
There’s a reason this commercial has gone so viral. For one: It’s just a damn good jingle. Like, sorry, I know it has infested the collective brain of the American public but it’s good. So simple, so good, so annoying. But also, NFL football remains the closest thing America has to a monocultural event. Of the top 25 most-watched television programs last year, 22 were NFL games(Opens in a new window). There is nothing else like it. If you have a catchy tune, and you get it played on NFL Sundays it is far more likely to catch on than by attaching it to any other piece of pop culture. Burger King was smart in that way.
The song went from good and catchy, to annoying, and now good again — or at least funny — in the wake of its omnipresence. The NFL season, however, is nearing its end. Just two weekends remain.
Until then: WHOPPER, WHOPPER, WHOPPER, WHOPPER.