It was a sell-out crowd at the Trust Events Centre for the Tua versus Ahunanya stoush last night. The businesspeople drank wine, ate canapes, and cheered for John Key; those in the cheap seats yelled things like 'Kill his face', 'Hit the face' and 'permanently disfigure his face' loudly and aggressively; the scantily-clad promo girls sashayed around the venue texting and being ogled by drunkards; and a particularly special guest came all the way from Miami to get in the ring. Youtube Video
The King, the aptly named mascot of Burger King (and, appropriately for this time of year, Jesus lookalike), has been on a mission to get the whopper to the top of the best selling burger list in New Zealand (you can check out the videos of his sneaky journey so far here and even join the Facebook page) and he chose last night's fight to reveal himself to the masses.
It wasn't the first appearance in Kiwi territory, however: Scott Coldham, senior account director at Colenso, says he was hanging out with some Calvin Klein models last week, possibly even rapping and booty dancing. But he says it was the first large-scale event The King has graced with his regal presence.
"He's going to be doing everything he can to get the whopper up to number one and he'll be forcing whoppers on unsuspecting members of the public."
The creepy, big-headed one, who has been the mascot in the US since the 1950s, fell out of favour during the 1980s and made a stunning US comeback in 2004, will be embarking on a nationwide evangelical whopper roadtrip in his Hummer ("He's a modern King") and he's already violated Sunrise, walking in, interrupting Kate Rodger's film review and handing out a few morning whoppers. Once his goal is achieved, he will return to his Miami palace.
Coldham says all this malarkey came about because of the revelation that the barbecue bacon double cheeseburger was the best selling burger in New Zealand. The whopper is the number one seller in most other Burger King territories, so, enter The King to sort out the discrepancy.
There now seem to be a few too many tie-ins between David Tua, boxing and Burger King for it to be put down to good luck. Coldham says they had to talk to the Duco gentleman, David Higgins and John McCrae, to get the King in the ring before the fight, but he says the relationship between Burger King and David Tua is still an informal one and there is no contract involved.
"After the last fight, with the KO ad, he said he was heading straight to Burger King after the fight and that was cool. But none of that stuff has been forced down his throat."
It seems Tua is just a good old fashioned brand champion, evidenced once again by the late night BK feast with his posse. Coldham says there's also the issue of Burger King not necessarily wanting to be associated with the sport of boxing.