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Burger King draws scrutiny for use of Manneken Pis to publicise new restaurant
A new Burger King next to Brussels' Grand-Place is using the likeness of Manneken Pis in its advertising ahead of their opening, having created its own version of the iconic Brussels statue.
Burger King’s statue, standing on a 48cm-high bronze plaque, was spotted at several locations around the city, Bruzz reports. It also appears in a video shot by football club RSC Anderlecht.
The Order of the Friends of Manneken Pis said that because there is no copyright on the statue, there is no legal action that can be taken.
“Manneken Pis waiting to eat a hamburger, there's nothing folkloric about that,” Marc Guebel, president of the order, said.
“We’re not happy about it, but there’s nothing we can do. Expressing our displeasure is all that is left for us.”
The statue was most recently spotted in the Agora gallery, near the new Burger King restaurant on the rue du Marché aux Herbes, where he will “patiently wait to be the very first to taste a Whopper” at the opening this Wednesday.
“We love unusual promotions, it's in our DNA,” explained marketing manager Lien Justé. “Manneken Pis is the symbol of our capital both nationally and internationally. Only, he rarely goes out.”
Justé called the opening of the new branch “an ideal moment” to send Manneken Pis on “a culinary adventure” to the American fast-food chain.
What Guebel finds more troublesome than using the heritage icon to sell burgers, however, is using it for political purposes: activists recently draped a white sheet over the real statue to draw attention to victims of the bombings in Gaza.