Juicier burger ads inappropriate

Articles
April 21, 2009

Juicier burger ads inappropriate

Teen boys love fast food, and they love to fantasize about fast women. Brand marketers are putting the two together in advertising campaigns, and to us the tactic is inappropriate. We don’t know if they will sell more burgers. We do feel strongly that it’s a disservice to both genders, selling out women and selling short the young male viewers. In one sizzling commercial, Carl’s Jr. sets Padma Lakshmi, the super-model and ‘Top Chef’ host, on a brownstone stoop, in a skimpy sundress, licking the juices from a Western Bacon Cheeseburger. Focus on the burger, boys, and ask yourself: Would I enjoy the burger as much as she does? Rather than: Might she be at the eatery down the street? How does she burn off those calories, and would she like some help? We’re far from prudes. We just think that thoughts of under-age sex and artery-clogging foods are a lethal combination to market.

Teen boys love fast food, and they love to fantasize about fast women.

Brand marketers are putting the two together in advertising campaigns, and to us the tactic is inappropriate. We don’t know if they will sell more burgers. We do feel strongly that it’s a disservice to both genders, selling out women and selling short the young male viewers.

In one sizzling commercial, Carl’s Jr. sets Padma Lakshmi, the super-model and ‘Top Chef’ host, on a brownstone stoop, in a skimpy sundress, licking the juices from a Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

Focus on the burger, boys, and ask yourself: Would I enjoy the burger as much as she does?   Rather than: Might she be at the eatery down the street? How does she burn off those calories, and would she like some help?

We’re far from prudes. We just think that thoughts of under-age sex and artery-clogging foods are a lethal combination to market. 

Similar efforts also aim at the grade-school set. Burger King currently touts a 99-cents SpongeBob SquarePants Kid’s Meal, in a commercial where the King character dances to hip-hop music and female dancers shake their (human) buns for the camera. The phrase, “Booty is booty,” is spoken, shown visually in words, and amply demonstrated.     We can’t articulate what this has to do with a kid’s meal, especially one themed around an underwater sponge. Maybe we’re the square ones, but we see it as possibly too slick for an audience that doesn’t know how to handle it.

Viewers can certainly choose to see such dancing on music video channels. But that’s far different from the mixed messages of burger ads that air during family programming. The burger purveyors are only trying to distract us from their astronomic calorie and fat counts—and induce a new generation to want to grow up fast in a burger world.

About a year ago, shows on the Food Network were similarly outed for their cleavage shots. The food jostles for attention with breasts.  To us, that’s so distant from the classic Julia Child show on PBS, regarded by many as the best ever of its kind because it was steeped in her personality and talent.  To her, we say ‘Bon appetit,’ in honor of her famous show-closing phrase. To the rest that rely on cheap camera tricks, ‘Bon voyage.’