Burger King Dethrones Its Creepy ‘King’ Mascot

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Evan Agostini / Getty Images Entertainment

Will the King still be smiling when he gets the ax?

Looks like we’ve got a good old-fashioned revolution on our hands. The King is dead. Long live the Whopper!

Burger King will be retiring their ad mascot, the King, in favor a new ad campaign that features their healthy food options.

It sounds like an odd stance for the burger-serving fast food chain to be taking, but experts say it’s not unusual. Lots of fast food chains, like Subway and 7-Eleven, have been successfully focusing on the freshness of their food.

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“Call it the Whole Foods effect,” Ron Paul, president of consulting firm Technomic, told USA Today.

The old ad campaign featured The King sneaking up on unsuspecting customers in dark tunnels and in their homes. It didn’t really give a consistent message about Burger King’s strengths. Burger King has been badly lagging behind its main competitor, McDonalds, both in popularity and sales, as well as Subway and KFC.

The King isn’t the only change in leadership at the franchise. 3G Capital took control in a 2010 buyout that cost $4 billion. Burger King has also hired a new ad agency, McGarryBowen, to replace King-makers Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

McGarryBowen’s new commercials will highlight the freshness of Burger King’s food by showing their ingredients audibly washed and diced with no narration, adding only pulsating music. The ads will feature the new California Whopper.

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Zachary Cohen is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Zachary_Cohen. You can also continue the discussion on TIME‘s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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