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Burger King’s New Advertising Tactic Is Photographing You While You Sleep

Is no place sacred for a public nap?

A man sleeping in a Burger King Burger King
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

There is little more tempting than a post-meal nap, especially after eating fast food. Think of it—you’re sitting in a wide, comfy booth, your belly is full of fries and bread, and since you have not a want in the world, you let your eyelids get a little heavy as the fat and salt course through your digestive system. Sure, usually you’d rally and continue going about your day, or at least keep yourself awake long enough to go home and sleep in your own bed, but shit happens, and perhaps today is the day you find yourself dozing off in public.

Just be careful about doing so in a Burger King, because your slack, drooling visage may just turn into the new face of their latest ad campaign.

According to AdWeek, Burger King Mexico and ad agency We Believers teamed up for a campaign that honors the “food coma” by showcasing allegedly real Burger King diners who have fallen asleep in their restaurants, especially those who have fallen asleep after large meals. To promote their “King’s Collection” of large burgers, they say they hired a photographer to photograph sleeping patrons, with the tagline “They’re That Big,” suggesting the burgers are so big you’ll...want to fall asleep in their stores and become their new mascots? The ads feature the location and time each shot was taken, because BK keeps receipts, and they’ve also licensed the ads to run across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.

All the subjects gave Burger King permission to use these photos in their ads. “As soon as they woke up, the photographer approached them to tell them about the project and offer them to sign [a release]—the same thing you usually do when you capture people with a hidden camera for a case study,” Gustavo Lauria, co-founder of We Believers, told AdAge, though AdAge did not specify whether or not the unwitting models were compensated for their “work.” But it still feels weird, and not just because I’d want compensation if my gaping maw was used to hawk burgers. Fast food restaurants are the closest thing we have to a worldwide living room, where you can get a cheap meal, use WiFi, and generally hang until late at night as long as you’re not bothering anyone. So if you want to eat a BBQ Bacon Whopper and grab a five minute nap because this is your lunch break, dammit, and you’ll do what you want, you should be able to do so in peace!

Of course, maybe they weren’t really sleeping, and these were just serendipitous images of people blinking or looking at their phones under their tables. Either way, watch your back in a Burger King. Or maybe it’s just time to campaign for restaurant nap pods.