And just like that, Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame now includes a Super Bowl commercial.
Yes, that really was the iconic artist mowing down a Burger King Whopper during the fourth quarter in footage filmed more than 35 years ago.
Something to chew on: AdAge let it be known that Warhol originally wanted to eat McDonald’s.
ArtNet declared that Warhol “stole the show more than three decades after his death in a commercial for Burger King, in the form of a long, unedited clip of the Pop artist quietly eating a Whopper.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
“The enigmatic 45-second spot concludes with the hashtag #EatLikeAndy. It immediately had many wondering what was going on. Was it a fake?”
Oh, it was real. Warhol laying waste to a Whopper is vintage performance art. He doesn’t speak in the commercial except to note that the ketchup won’t come out of the bottle.
He dunks the Whopper in a puddle of ketchup the way most people dip their fries. (#EatLikeAndy, Burger King says.)
The footage came from the 1982 film, “66 Scenes from America” by Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth, according to Eater food blog, which noted this was Burger King’s first Super Bowl commercial in 13 years.
According to AdAge, the film “has flown largely under the radar beyond art circles.”
The Warhol scene — named “Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger” — is being shown in a Whitney Museum retrospective, “Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again,” according to ArtNet.
Warhol, who died in 1987, was one of the leader’s of America’s pop art movement. He created many of his iconic works – including his famous paintings of “Campbell’s Soup Cans” — during the 1960s and early 1970s, according to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
“His impact as an artist is far deeper and greater than his one prescient observation that ‘everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes,’” reads his biography on the website.
“I still remember the first time I watched the complete length of the film of Andy Warhol eating a Burger King Whopper, and my head exploded,” Fernando Machado, Burger King’s global chief marketing officer, told AdAge.
“I was like, ‘Is that really Andy Warhol; why is he eating that? What’s happening there?’”
Leth’s movie is exactly what the title implies: 66 scenes from American life — “American flags, open roads, mixed drinks and Andy Warhol eating a Whopper,” writes Documentary.org.
“At the end of each scene, a voice, presumably Leth himself, names its location, usually placing us somewhere iconic on the American map — ‘Key West, Florida’; ‘Monument Valley, Arizona’; ‘Lubbock, Texas.’ ”
Burger King secured the rights to use the Warhol footage from The Andy Warhol Foundation, Ad Week reported.
“The typical Super Bowl ad tends to be loud music, full of celebrities and really screaming loud to break the clutter,” Machado told Ad Week before the game.
“We see our ad as breaking all the rules of the typical Super Bowl ad — our ad doesn’t have music, doesn’t have voiceover, is not 30 seconds, was not shot this year. Our ad was shot in 1982. I believe that it will act like a silent assassin during the Super Bowl — it will cut through the noise with silence.”
The scene in the movie ran more than four minutes. After the foundation and Leth’s son signed off for its use in the commercial, Ad Age reported, 45 seconds were gleaned.
The entire four-minute scene, though, is posted on YouTube.
After the commercial aired, AdAge dropped this bit of trivia on Twitter: “Fun fact: Andy Warhol actually asked for a McDonald’s burger when he recorded this scene in 1981, but the crew didn’t have any. They offered to run to McD’s, but he said, ‘Never mind, I will take the Burger King.’ ”
Burger King replied: “it doesn’t matter who you flirt with, it matters who you take home.”