Exhibit / March 9, 2017
Burger King, founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, emerged in the 1980s as one of the main nationwide competitors to McDonald’s in the United States. In 1978, the probable year of this photo, former McDonald’s executive Donald N. Smith began revamping Burger King’s image, which included taking power away from franchisees, refreshing and standardizing the restaurant chain’s look, and most importantly adding new items to the menu, including “specialty sandwiches” and a breakfast menu, a promotional image for which can be seen in the restaurant window. The visual reboot of Burger King involved a color scheme that prominently utilized red, orange, brown, and yellow, which followed the prevailing color trends of the 1970s, as seen, for example, in the 1970s uniforms of the Houston Astros and the San Diego Padres baseball teams. The light-bulb studded marquee (with bulbs positioned to illuminate the transparent elements of the front window) and diagonal stripes are a striking, almost garish contrast to the “traditional” shingle facade seen behind the Burger King letters.
The New York City yellow cab, most likely a Dodge Coronet, shows off the taxi rates at the time (75 cents for the first 1/7th of a mile, 10 cents for each 1/7th of a mile thereafter), as well as some after-market additions like the off/on-duty lights. On the light pole in the extreme left of the photo is a small sign which says, “littering is filthy & selfish so don’t do it” [sic], part of a municipal public service campaign to encourage citizens and visitors to keep the streets of New York City clean. The older pedestrians show off a variety of fashions that straddle the line between an earlier mid-century aesthetic and the up-to-date fashions of the day, while the faux-pebbled surface of both the adjoining building and the Burger King trash barrel also evoke the design imperative of the 1970s: a carefully-engineered mimicry of organic-ness.