Slipknot: Why Burger King Sued The Band

Why Burger King and Slipknot Sued Each Other

Back in 2005 metal band Slipknot found themselves in a legal battle with fast food chain Burger King. Check out the full story below from Rock N’ Roll True Stories

This story dates back 15 years to 2005. Heavy Metal band Slipknot were in the middle of the touring cycle for 2004’s Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses which was a huge success thanks to the singles Duality and Before I Forget. While the band had a lot to celebrate they would also be caught in litigation with fast food giant Burger King.What happened? Stay tuned to find out. In 2005 fast food chain, burger king launched a new product called BK Chicken Fries. To promote the fries, Burger King hired the advertising firm Crispin Porter and Bogusky who came up with the idea of having a fictional rock band named Coq Roq promote the product in an advertising campaign. They donned costumes and masks similar to other bands including GWAR, Mushroomhead and of course Slipknot. According to an employee of the advertising firm, the fictional information for the band was that they signed a with Burger King instead of a major record label. The promotional campaign featured a viral marketing website, television and print ads in addition to a fictional myspace page and even promotional video games being created featuring the group’s music on the Xbox. Here’s one of the television commercial that ran in the US. Music Playing Not much is known about the musicians who portrayed these characters. and the director for the promotional campaign was director Paul Hunter who had previously worked with Madonna, Britney Spears and Eminem to name a few artists. There were even rumors in late 2005 that Burger King’s faux band was going to release a full CD, DVD and even possibly tour. The band’s website did in fact sell merchandise but it’s not exactly clear how many people purchased it. Shortly after the campaign hit the airwaves Slipknot fans online took notice and so did the band’s management and attorney’s. It wasn’t just Slipknot who got angry over the campaign as advertisements relied heavily on double entendres and sexual innuendo which forced the fast food chain to make some changes. And shortly after the campaign started Burger King was hit with a cease and desist letter from Slipknot’s attorney. The cease and desist letter would be leaked by the website the Smoking Gun who published the following excerpt: “It is obvious that the television advertising and website are designed to conjure up the image and persona of a live performance of Slipknot. In addition to capturing the flavor and high energy intensity of a Slipknot performance the members of Coq Roq wear masks that include a gas mask as worn by Slipknot’s Sid Wilson, a kabuki style mask as worn by Slipknot’s Joey Jordinson and a mask with dreads as worn by Slipknot’s Corey Taylor. Slipknot’s lawyer also claimed that Burger King had approached the band’s label Roadrunner Records in September of 2004 to appear in the burger king’s ad campaign encouraging young people to vote in the US Presidential Election. Discussions apparently went on for several weeks, but Slipknot rejected the idea because they did not want to be associated with burgers. Slipknot would end up suing burger king and their advertising agency for trademark infringement. Burger King in return, ended up countersuing Slipknot claiming the band themselves were parody of other bands including Gwar, ICP, Mushroomhead and Mudvayne. The fast food chain also claimed that their fake band was supposed to resemble chickens and not other bands. And both sides ended up dropping their lawsuits and the ad campaign came to an eventual end. But you guys are probably wondering was burger king’s chicken fry campaign successful? Well Billboard Magazine in 2005 reached out to a Burger King spokesperson who claimed at that point in time it was one of the most successful product launches in recent history with more than 100 million worth of chicken fries ordered in the campaign’s first four weeks. So that does it for today’s video guys thanks for watching. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and do you think Slipknot had a basis for their lawsuit? And we’ll see you again tomorrow on rock n’ roll true stories. Take care.