Strung Out

Introducing a new Sideshow feature: P.R. Pickings. The world of real, wacky press releases, brought straight to your desktop.


We assume that images of picketing symphony season ticket holders didn’t exactly have Burger King ready to toss its crown aside. (Besides, it’s probably already lost the “grownup market“). So the American String Teachers Association decided it needed a larger audience to join its fight . . .

Press Release
Contact: Galen Wixson, Executive Director
Phone: 703-476-1316
Fax: 703-476-1317
Date: 12/16/96

Because of an offensive commercial, the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) urges concerned Americans not to patronize Burger King Restaurants until this commercial is removed from the airwaves.

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Burger King is currently running a commercial that shows a bookish-looking boy playing the cello badly. Zapped by a cartoon character wielding a remote control, the boy is transformed into a skilled electric guitar player — after a visit to Burger King, of course.

This commercial sends a message to young people that an individual can stop working hard on a task with long-term benefits and be rewarded with an instantly gratifying replacement. “String players are often portrayed in the media as losers, when in fact string study is a fun and enriching experience for America’s youth,” ASTA President Edward Adelson said. “School string programs have increased two-fold in recent years. ASTA’s 11,000 members and their estimated one-half million students will not allow such characterizations to go unchallenged. Burger King has an obligation to America’s youth to stop showing this commercial and replace it with advertisements that encourage children to explore a broad range of cultural activities.”

ASTA requests that Burger King cease airing this commercial immediately and that future commercials involving musicians cast those musicians and their instruments in a positive light. “Many years from now, when Burger King is no longer selling hamburgers, the remarkable legacy of string music will remain,” Adelson said. “ASTA does not want a generation of students to be deprived of experiencing this beauty because of negative advertising messages.”

The American String Teachers Association is a nonprofit professional association serving 11,000 teachers and performers of violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar and harp in private studios, college. and universities, public and private schools, symphony orchestras, and chamber ensembles. Membership is open to any individual or organization interested in furthering the association’s mission of promoting string playing and study in America.

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