Business Notes Promotions

  • Where's Herb? Who knows, but Burger King's white-socked, balding nerd cannot be found taking any bows in the Alabama senate. Last week that august body passed a resolution denouncing Burger King for "consumer fraud" in its Where's Herb? contest.

    The burger brouhaha started in March, when Jason Hallman, 15, of Bessemer, Ala., became the first person in his state to spot Herb in a Burger King store. The bespectacled actor was on a nationwide tour of Burger King outlets as part of a $40 million promotional campaign. The young man thought he had won a $5,000 prize, but Burger King, upon learning his age, denied him the jackpot and gave it to his friend David Brown, 16, who was with Jason that day. Reason: the rules of the contest, posted in all Burger King stores, said that winners had to be at least 16. The purpose of the restriction, said the company, was to discourage youngsters from hanging around Burger Kings during school hours.

    Instead of quietly dropping the matter, Jason's parents decided to complain to their state senator Mac Parsons. After investigating the dispute, the Alabama senate concluded that Burger King had never made the rules of the game clear in its advertising campaign. The lawmakers threatened to "invoke remedial legislation" if the company failed "to rectify the consumer fraud it has perpetrated." Said Senator Parsons: "I feel what Burger King did was as bad as what the Grinch did when he stole Christmas."