Bad food, big check lands FIJI members on national TV

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A Whataburger taste test commercial shot on campus last April starring three SMU students and featuring the façade of the Lambda Chi Alpha house is now airing on television stations across the country.

A few weeks prior to shooting the commercial, the fast food chain asked the Phi Gamma Delta to be a part of the national advertising campaign. When they agreed, Whataburger said they would come on a random Sunday morning to film.

Daniel Williams, Denny Dempsy and Rob Surtees were picked to play the part of dumb but hungry college-age fraternity guys who enjoy the new 99-cent deal. The commercial was altered to look like a home video to make seem more realistic.

Williams, one of Whataburger’s chosen taste-testers, said that the 99-cent breakfast they ate was far from mouth-watering.

“It was actually pretty gross,” Williams said. “They had camera’s in our face at eight in the morning and we had to pretend that we liked it.”

The tasters said that they were all so tired and parched from the night before, it was hard to even chew on the biscuits and sausage meal.

“All we could say was ‘mmm,'” Williams said.

The antics of the chain’s spokesman in the commercial made it even more difficult to keep their breakfast in their mouths, the men said.

“Frank the spokesperson was really funny. He was making fun of how eloquent we were and saying how nice we looked,” said Surtees, Williams’ roommate. “We could barely open our eyes.”

Despite the taste of the meal, Surtees said that the overall experience was worth it and he had a lot of fun.

After their morning meal, the three had to drive around in the Whataburger mobile and yell out the window that Whataburger was number one and repeat the Whataburger mantra: “We make it like, you like it.”

Despite the experience, the only shot that they used of them in the orange and white van was them pulling away from the fraternity house, Surtees said.

“It’s all real,” Williams said. “We don’t say much. We were just pretty dizzy and delirious.”

After the filming was over, the tasters were able to collect their reward – a couple of free biscuit coupons that would soon find their way into the trash and a surprisingly hefty sum of money.

“I didn’t even think they were going to use us in the commercial until I got a check in the mail for $350. I would have done it for $50,” Surtees said.

After the commercial aired this fall, the newly famous taste-testers made their way to Whataburger to test their celebrity status.

“The guy at the window recognized us after we told him that we were in the commercial,” Surtees said. “I think that he gave us a free hamburger.”

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