Bad Beef: Remembering Burger King's Infamous "Where's Herb?” Campaign

"Where's Herb?" was an advertising campaign for the fast-food chain Burger King that ran in 1985 and 1986. The television commercials featured a fictional character named Herb — played by actor Jon Menick (above left) — who was described as never having eaten a Whopper in his life. Advertisements called on fans to visit their local Burger King in hopes of finding Herb and winning a prize. The campaign also included an "I'm not Herb" promotion, in which customers could get a discounted Whopper by including the phrase in their order. This confused people who tried to follow the promotion, because they didn't know what Herb looked like. By the time his appearance was revealed, many people had already lost interest in the campaign. When 15-year-old Jason Hallman of Alabama spotted Herb, Burger King gave his 16-year-old friend the $5,000 instead, because Hallman wasn’t old enough to play. Hallman’s parents complained, with the Alabama state senate weighing in. They labeled Burger King’s actions as approaching “consumer fraud” because they had failed to make the age minimum a prominent part of the rules. The advertising campaign lasted three months before it was discontinued.