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Missing SpongeBob SquarePants Inflatables Net Burger King Reward

McDonalds has its Hamburglar character, Burger King seems to think it has a rash of its own thieves or spongenappers and is offering a reward of Burger Bucks good for a one-year's supply of original Whopper sandwiches for information leading to the safe return of missing SpongeBob SquarePants inflatables. The gigantic blow-up figures began popping up on tops of Burger King restaurants on Nov. 11, 2004 and have been recently disappearing from their lofty perches.

These fun yellow blow-up figures are part of the largest inflatable promotion in the history of the Quick Service Restaurant industry, with about 4,700 Burger King restaurants sporting a nine- foot inflatable SpongeBob SquarePants. These inflatables are a larger-than- life reminder that Burger Kings offer a number of collectible toys and watches featuring SpongeBob and Friends. However, even these toys and watches are disappearing at an alarming rate, through both mundane and mysterious means, from restaurants everywhere.

"As to the motives behind these apparent 'spongenappings,' we can only speculate. We did receive one ransom note related to an inflatable SpongeBob disappearance in Minnesota," said Russ Klein, cmo, Burger King.

"Now, of course, Burger King Corp. does not condone 'spongenappings' and strongly discourages anyone from going on rooftops or doing anything illegal to swipe a SpongeBob SquarePants Inflatable," said Klein. "Our reward only applies to previously 'napped SpongeBob SquarePants Inflatables.

"We are concerned about our missing, massive sponges and the effect their absence is having on SpongeBob fans, employees, children and parents everywhere. We hope the reward will help these AWOL SpongeBob's find their way home," Klein said.

Anyone with information leading to the safe return of a missing SpongeBob SquarePants inflatable should call (305) 378-3998 to qualify for the reward.

Burger King and Nickelodeon have teamed up to offer 12 different toys from THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE. Guests may also choose to purchase any of five different watches featuring SpongeBob and Friends for $1.99 with the purchase of any value meal. Pricing and participation may vary.

The Burger King ( system operates more than 11,220 restaurants in all 50 states and in 60 countries and territories around the world. Burger King Holdings, Inc., the parent company, is private and independently owned by an equity sponsor group comprised of Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.