Screenshot from Burger King and Jørgen Leth’s “Eat Like Andy”

In the early 1980s, Danish director Jørgen Leth filmed Andy Warhol eating a Burger King Whopper at his Factory in New York City. The footage, starring the affectless pop artist in a blue blazer and red tie, featured in Leth’s 1982 film, 66 Scenes from America.

This past Sunday, a 45-second clip of Whopper-eating Warhol aired in a Burger King commercial during the Super Bowl LIII. The ad’s hashtag implored viewers to #EatLikeAndy. Burger King’s global CMO Fernando Machado says the ad “truly elevates the Whopper to its iconic stature.”

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“When we tried to get the rights from the foundation, they loved the idea because they felt it was true to him and something he would have done, in a way,” Juan Javier Peña Plaza, the executive creative director of the agency behind the commercial, told Adweek. “It’s about getting everyone to experience art.”

What the burger chain doesn’t want viewers to know is that Warhol’s stated fast-food brand preference was McDonald’s. “The most beautiful thing in Tokyo is McDonald’s,” the artist wrote in his 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. “The most beautiful thing in Stockholm is McDonald’s. The most beautiful thing in Florence is McDonald’s. Peking and Moscow don’t have anything beautiful yet.”

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In a recent interview, Leth reminisced about Warhol’s reaction to “the Danes with the crazy hamburger project.”

“When he saw the three hamburgers I had ordered — one from Burger King and two neutral products — he said, ‘Where’s the McDonald’s? … It’s the nicest design,’” Leth says in the interview. To save time, Warhol deigned to eat the Burger King Whopper on camera, but judging by his blank expression, his heart wasn’t in it.

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Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering arts and culture. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Baffler, The Village Voice, and elsewhere.

5 replies on “Warhol Ate Burger King in a Super Bowl Commercial, But He Was a McDonald’s Fan”

  1. If Burger King is willing to spend millions of dollars on promoting their burgers via Andy Warhol references, previously only consumed by art lovers/Scandinavian cinephiles/Macaulay Culkin fans, does that mean that Art is now as main stream as American football?

  2. Why do you open burger bun to put a ketchup on the side of burger? or is it to check if there is anything you dont like(ie pickles or onions, or cheese) Eat like an artist! good fun to watch.

    1. Well phil8 is hard to tell…he liked burgers especially from McDonald’s because of the good design…but is still a weird if it was ketchup on it why you would put on the side-and dipping into it? Obviously he liked ketchup as bad as burger?

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