Ready Player One is all about paying homage to the things you love with little regard for what anyone else thinks, and hamburger store Carl’s Jr. seems to have taken that concept a little too far with its Ready Player One tie-in campaign. In a fun (if on-the-nose) nod to the name of Ready Player One director Steven Spielberg, Car’s Jr. announced that it would be changing the name of its Charbroiled Sliders to “SpielBurgers.” A tweet about the campaign said that Spielberg himself hadn’t approved it yet, but the restaurant chain was “pretty sure he’ll be down with it.”
As it turns out, though, he wasn’t. In a video from Amblin Entertainment’s Twitter account, Spielberg himself says he’s “passing” on the campaign. “Cease and desist,” he said, “you can’t do it.”
Warner Bros. itself then jumped in, saying that it did not approve of this wacky “SpielBurgers” thing.
However, as Variety points out, Carl’s Jr. does have a “promotional partnership” with Ready Player One and its Twitter page has done some playful bantering with the Warner Bros. account, suggesting that this whole thing is just a complicated advertisement. Brands have been descending into the halls of “weird Twitter” for a long time now, and creating a feud with Steven Spielberg doesn’t seem too outlandish when you’ve got Wendy’s trolling its competitors and Arby’s making obscure fan art. Even if it is fake, though (and it definitely is), Carl’s Jr. did manage to get Steven Spielberg to do a little plug for its food. Doesn’t he have better things to do?