When Fast Food is Too Fast

When Fast Food is Too Fast

Are you tired of the sexy burger ads? I hope not, because there are more coming our way. In the last ten years a couple of fast food chains have pushed the envelope in terms of sexual innuendo in their television commercials.

It’s everywhere. I don’t know whether it’s a woman thing or if it’s just my own personal issue, but I cannot stand advertisers using sex or sexual innuendo to sell anything. They seem most frequent during sports programming, on the weekends, and on “male” channels like ESPN. But that’s not the extent of it. Often automobile commercials sport a Barbie look-a-like hovering somewhere near the car. Beer ads are notorious for communicating the message that if you drink some particular brand of beer, you will end up surrounded by scantily clad women — mostly blondes! (Can you tell that I’m a brunette?)

What has been most annoying to me are the fast food commercials. It’s not that beer and cars get a pass, or that they make any more sense, but fast food doesn’t have a particular appeal to men; women, children, everyone (for better or worse) eats fast food.

Commercials featuring half-naked women eating a burger in a sensual manner seem ridiculous. You may remember the Paris Hilton commercial that I believe was the epitome of the over-the-top sexual innuendo we continue to see in this genre of advertising. Paris was dressed in a skimpy leather swimsuit, supposedly washing a car with a hose, and moving her body sexually while eating a Carl’s Junior burger. That was when I stopped going to Carl’s Junior!

These ads have taken a life of their own and it must be, sadly, because they work. The latest, according to ABC news:

“There’s an entire genre of racy fast food ads, like the Hardee’s promotion that talks to consumers about ‘creamy balls’ and ‘happy holes’ for its biscuit holes campaign.”

And, here’s more from ABC news regarding Burger King jumping on the band wagon.

“Burger King has also gotten in on the controversial action.” 

“One Burger King print ad from Singapore gets even racier, making a not-so veiled reference to oral sex. The top right-hand corner of the ad proclaims: ‘It just tastes better.’ 

“Below that declaration is an image of a woman in profile with her mouth wide open as though ready to take in a lengthy sandwich right in front of her. Across the bottom of the ad are the words, ‘It’ll blow your mind away.’”

Now Carl’s Junior and Hardee’s, which are both owned by the same company, have a new promotion called “Hot Chicks Eating Burgers”. They are asking for video submissions from the population at large of “hot chicks” eating burgers in a sexual manner. Is this reality television gone wild?

One key element some are talking about is that these commercials could air during family viewing time. Although it may be debatable if they are inappropriate for adults, the ads are undoubtedly inappropriate for children. The Parents Television Council disapproves of the commercials: “They are simply beyond the pale. These are great American brands with great products. There are better ways to sell a product than this,” Isett said. But the bottom line is, well, the bottom line — the ads sell.

What do you think? Is it fair that “sex sells”? Or are advertisers appealing to the lowest common denominator in our culture to sell food?

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