Burger King releases 'Real Meals' for mental health awareness

I worked at McDonald's the summer after high school and the first couple years of college.

The over-sized red button down shirt with a grease stain down the front. Getting multiple blister burns on my hands from the hash browns and french fries. Working on Saturday nights. Disgruntled customers degrading us employees. And especially, dating a co-worker and then still working with him after we broke up.

Yup, that job was definitely not a "happy" one. And, even while eating a "Happy Meal" during my lunch break, it didn't increase my joy (it did increase the size of my waistline though). 

Okay, okay I'm not dissing Mickey D's. I love me a McGriddle or a breakfast burrito in the morning. But calling it a "Happy Meal" — are we really that happy while eating it? (I mean, yeah, if you're a kid excited for the plastic super hero or My Little Pony toy inside, then it makes you happy) 

Recognizing that sometimes we're just not happy, Burger King has decided to create "Real Meals" for Mental Health Awareness Month. Poking fun at McDonald's "Happy Meals," Burger King is now offering meals symbolizing all of your moods — the Pissed Meal, Yaaas Meal, DGAF (Don't Give A F**k) Meal, Salty Meal and Blue Meal.

The tagline to Burger King's mental health awareness campaign is, "It's okay to #FeelYourWay." In their new commercial, it opens with a man, sitting on a bed with his head down, saying, "Not everybody wakes up happy. Sometimes you feel sad, scared, crappy. All I ask is that you let me feel my way."

The video addresses topics like bullying, teen pregnancy, depression, student debt and being ghosted. The text on the screen at the end reads, "No one is happy all the time. And that’s OK.”

Watching the video, I got a little bit emotional, and that's definitely a first for a fast food commercial to make me feel like that. 

The meals, which include a Whopper, fries and a drink, are currently available in Austin, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles and New York City (please, Burger King, bring them to Detroit!!)

According to a press release by Burger King, "A natural extension of encouraging people to ‘be their way’ is encouraging them to ‘feel their way.' ... With the pervasive nature of social media, there is so much pressure to appear happy and perfect. With Real Meals, the Burger King brand celebrates being yourself and feeling however you want to feel.”

I applaud you, Burger King, for using your platform to raise awareness of such an important cause, to use your advertising to show your customers that they're not alone, and for recognizing that it's okay not to be okay.

(Update: I don't think there's anything wrong with "Happy Meals." It's not like I think it's offensive or bad at all! I know it's gearing toward children. I just think Burger King's play off the term "Happy Meals" for this campaign is pretty genius!)

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