Burger King Wants You to Endanger Your Career Prospects for a Free Whopper

stacks of burger king crowns
Håkan Dahlström under Creative Commons

Hi, good afternoon, here is a potentially terrible idea.

Burger King is giving out free flame-grilled Whopper sandwiches. Hooray, free food! But to get one, you have to tell your online professional network you got fired.

Pretty bold. And you can’t just do it on the sly. The post has to be public to score the freebie.

You only have until Friday, Sept. 1, to participate, so if you really like free sandwiches and don’t really care about your dignity, keep reading.

How This Self-Deprecating Freebie Works

It’s simple. (Actually, it’s really complicated, so hold on for this ride.)

The first step is to visit LinkedIn and post this message: “I got fired. I want a free Whopper. #WhopperSeverance.” Or, you can log in to LinkedIn at WhopperSeverance.com and have the company post it for you.

“That’s right: own your fire!” BK’s press release instructs.  

Do it and you’ll get a personalized link (from The King himself on LinkedIn) to register for a Whopper-branded severance package by mail. Like, the actual mail. It comes with an official-looking “termination” letter and a $5 Burger King gift card so you can get that free Whopper.

LinkedIn is in no way involved in this promotion.

The offer expires on Friday, and only the first 2,500 people to post and follow the instructions will get their kits in the mail. The first 100 participants from that group of… are they really winners? will receive “30-minute one-on-one Q+A sessions” courtesy of career experts at The Muse.

This Is Either Funny or Embarrassing

Everyone likes to get something for free, but this campaign is a bit tone-deaf.

It asks you to take to your LinkedIn account — arguably the most buttoned-up of all the social media platforms — and declare you got fired at one time or another. You’re logging on to the one network we use for job hunting and telling everyone you were terminated from a job.

That seems like not the best idea.

There’s even a part of the press release where Burger King touts its role as a job creator.

Some people have used the campaign to their advantage. A few posts on LinkedIn declare the firing, then clarify in a comment, “I got fired from my grocery bagger job in 1968,” or something that would have little bearing on their career today.

Dan Jordan, a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y., put his own spin on the directions by posting, “I fired myself from Freelance just to get a free Whopper. #WhopperSeverance.” When “The King” responded with his personalized link, Jordan responded in thanks with the comment “FreeWhopper > Freelance.”

Maybe Burger King is trying to remove the stigma of being terminated from a job. But owning that challenge and bouncing back from a termination isn’t a laughing matter for many.

I’d rather pay a few bucks for the sandwich than try to explain to my LinkedIn network why I felt compelled to participate in this campaign.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

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