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Burger King Whiplash Whopper ad

1. Our mother always told us to not play with our food, but she never said anything about fighting with it. Which may be why we're weirdly intrigued by fast-food marketers who pitch menu items as something to be conquered. In the wake of KFC's challenge to "take down the Double Down," we now have Burger King - which previously boasted the Angry Whopper - serving up the Whiplash Whopper, a sandwich so hot that a TV spot announcing its debut in Canada suggests it's fodder for a lawsuit. The ad features an ambulance-chasing lawyer modelled on Seinfeld's Jackie Chiles, who himself was modelled on O.J. Simpson's Johnnie Cochran. If you burn your mouth on the burger, does this mean you can sue O.J.?



2. Burger lovers aren't the only ones feeling burned these days. South of the border, we witnessed a remarkable scene this week as Wendell Potter, a former head of communications for Cigna HealthCare, apologized to filmmaker Michael Moore during an appearance on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann for helping to orchestrate a character assassination campaign over Mr. Moore's 2007 health-care industry doc, Sicko. But if Mr. Moore was placated, others are irate: In Mr. Potter's newly published tell-all Deadly Spin, he smacks down public relations as a profession of liars and obfuscators, so PR guru Richard Edelman took to his blog to insist that, given today's "robust mainstream and social media," the distortion of truth is simply not possible. He didn't add "any more," but we heard it anyway.



3. At least one retailer across the pond could use some PR help. John Lewis, the British department store chain, has stepped in a pile of, um, doggie stuff with its holiday TV campaign. The retailer, which is normally so adept at conjuring warm feelings, has upset animal lovers with a new ad that concludes with a family dog left out in the cold - albeit with a Christmas stocking on its doghouse. After a storm of complaints, the retailer changed the 30-second version of the ad, but not the 60-second one, thus pleasing no one and perfectly illustrating something timeless: Who cares if there's a whole country just across the Irish Sea going belly up? Someone left a dog outside!

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4. It's okay, there's one group who can salve everyone's pain: This week the Ontario Nurses Association rolled out a new campaign seeking to position its members as stars who deserve the sort of accolades normally reserved for pro athletes. One poster shows a Hall-of-Fame-style signed pink nurse's scrubs, while a pair of radio spots offers play-by-plays by the Maple Leafs sportscaster Joe Bowen. (In one post-shift interview, a delivery-room nurse breathlessly tells him, "I just took it a contraction at a time and gave 110 per cent.") Mr. Bowen is great in the role. After broadcasting Leaf games for so many years, he was probably just excited to finally be calling a winning team.



Simon Houpt

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About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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