Wacky Ads: Burger King Goes 'Crazy', Mexican Restaurant Turns to Tattoos

Burger King ad spurs criticism from mental health advocates.

The economy may be recovering but advertisers and marketers are still pulling out all the stops to attract customers.

Some campaigns work better than others.

Burger King has sparked the ire of mental health advocates with a commercial depicting its King mascot as "crazy."

A San Francisco eatery has convinced some customers to get tattoos in exchange for free food for life.

ABCNews.com took a closer look at some of the most original ways advertisers and companies are turning to extreme measures to promote their products.

'This King's Insane'

A Burger King commercial running in recent weeks declares the "King's gone crazy," and shows the burger chain's royal mascot running through a bulding, knocking someone over and crashing through a plate glass window before being tackled to the ground by men in white coats.

The commercial was supposed to trumpet Burger King's new Burger King Steakhouse XT burger: The "king's insane" for "offerings so much beef for $3.99," said the ad.

But some mental health advocates said the commercial inadvertently promoted something else: the stigma associated with being mentally ill.

The commercial capitalized "on some of those most negative stereotypes of people with mental illnesses," said David Shern, the president and CEO of Mental Health America.

The behavior exhibited by the "crazy" King in the commercial "would be rare and those kinds of stereotypes perpetuate discrimination against people with mental illnesses and stimulate fears," Shern said.

Michael Fitzpatrick, the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness, said advertisers should treat mental illness in the way they do other illnesses.

"You don't make fun of people in wheelchairs, you don't take fun of people with heart disease, kidney disease, cancer," he said. "Mental illness is an illness like any other."

As first reported by The Washington Post, both organizations have sent letters to Burger King asking them to pull the ad. Burger King has stopped running the ad nationally but it may still be broadcast in some local markets, a spokeswoman said.

In an e-mailed statement, the chain said it "values and respects all of its guests."

"The ads in discussion are intended to highlight the premium value and affordability of the Burger King Steakhouse XT burger line. The creative concepts used to bring this to life were meant to highlight the King's unchecked enthusiasm about giving his guests a steakhouse-quality sandwich at a great price and were not intended to reflect any group or situation," the company said.

With fewer franchises than McDonald's, Burger King is "always trying edgy stuff" in their commercials, said ABCNews.com columnist Larry Woodard, the president and CEO of Graham Stanley Advertising.

Woodard questioned the chain's wisdom in continuing to use the King mascot.

"Even though teenagers might think that the Burger King is cool, he's sort of freaky to everyone else," he said. " You wonder why a company would take that kind of risk."

Get Inked, Get a Free Lunch

A San Francisco Mexican restaurant is offering its customers free meals for life if they get a tattoo featuring the restaurant's logo: a sombrero-wearing boy riding a giant ear of corn.

Casa Sanchez first offered the promotion ten years ago and has now brought it back, calling it the "stimulus special," said owner Marty Sanchez, who first spoke to ABC News affiliate KGO-TV.

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