Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don’t Let Carl’s Jr. Get Away With It!

Carl’s Jr. has a long history of over-the-top sexualized marketing techniques, by which I have been disgusted for years. I won't even post the awful ads here. But their latest horror:

A rare gem, eh?

We could talk about oh so many things. First, the idea that to be "memorable" you have to be as scantily clad and sexualized as possible. Second, the objectification of women as represented by "Miss Turkey" who actually represents A BURGER. An OBJECT. And third, the gaping men at the end—asfjafjkdfaklsfjd. They wouldn't be looking if she were wearing more clothes, would they? And we women always want them to be gaping at us, don't we? So to get any attention from males (which is of paramount importance, in fact the only purpose to the female existence) we should wear less clothing.

I saw this commercial on actual TV. It was during a Jazz game on ESPN. They market this filth to men, telling them that to be a man means you objectify women. Being a man means you consume women as products. Being a man means sex is part of your daily intake, and it's funny and clever to do this at the expense of women. If you don't like this stuff you're a wimp, or homosexual, or some other ridiculous label. (Because you're actually being caring, responsible and humane by not liking it, you aren't a man.)

Also—to be a woman means you actively want sex all the time, even if you don't say it. You are an object for men and you choose to be it, because look at this woman choosing to be an object.

So here’s what you can do if you’re as disgusted as I am.

1. CONTACT Carl’s Jr. Let them know you’re horrified! This garbage continues because the culture supports it. If we create a culture that doesn’t allow objectification of women, it won’t happen.

2. “Dislike” the video on Youtube. 

3. Refuse to eat at Carl’s Jr. I have had this pact with myself for a few years now, and during one family vacation it seemed Carl’s Jr. was the only option. While eating some disgusting salad all I could think about were the disgusting ads—and all I could do was write about it on a little wimpy feedback note. BUT if every single person who was disgusted contacted them? It would change things.

4. Blog about it! Show us your feedback notes and empower your people to do something, too.

It can be easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed in the sea of advertising muck we’re swimming through. It is easy to say, ehh, my wimpy feedback note won’t make any difference. It’s already seeped into the whole culture and I’m just one person.

Rise above that laziness and do your part. “By your actions or your silence, you, too, enter the fray.” –Albert Camus

In other words, your silence is your support.  Even if you say, "Oh, that’s awful,” in the corner of your own heart or even aloud in your living room, if you don’t make that voice heard it will be drowned out by those who are willing to speak up—right now, that’s Carl’s Jr.

You standing by and idly watching gives your permission.

Oh, p.s.—Carl’s Jr. isn’t the only fast food joint going the objectify-women-to-sell-burgers route. Note Arby’s:
sports ill
Really Arby’s? I thought you were so family-friendly.

And Burger King:

*Apparently Burger King’s awful ad was paid for by a franchise, not the Burger King corporation. So they’re trying to deflect the controversy with that. Hmpf. Regardless of how or why the ad got out, it’s still reaching people. And it’s still completely misogynistic and terrifying.

AND there’s still something we can do about it! Contact Arby’s and Burger King to give your feedback too.


Breanna Stutz said...

Oh my gosh! I'm absolutely horrified. Working on my feedback letter now.

Sarah said...

Great post Brooke! It is so sad and ridiculous that companies feel they can make a profit from ads like this, but I know that I can make a difference. I just finished sending off some emails. Here is a sample of one of them:

"I recently saw your Miss Turkey ad and wanted to let you know how disgusted I was with it. I find it very inappropriate and contrary to any family friendly appeal you may try to market as well. Please market your product in a manner that does not objectify women and sexualize food. If you must market in this manner to make a profit, than I have doubts concerning the quality of your product and have no desire to eat Carl's Jr. food and will discourage others from doing so as well. I look forward to seeing greatly improved, family friendly advertisements in the very near future. Thank you."

Sarah said...

Part of a response I got back:

"We often use satirical humor in our commercials to tell our customers about the Arby’s menu in an engaging and fun way."

That's great Arby's. It's definitely ok then. The fact that they responded within two minutes tells me mine wasn't the first complaint they've received:)

Angela Baarz said...

Hi. My name is Angela. Long time reader. First time commenter. (Oh wait, this isn't the radio, it's a blog.)

I contacted Arby's about multiple commercials of theirs - one that I did an online survey for and I haven't seen it on TV and hopefully never will. They even wrote me back and apologized for offending me with their multiple sexual innuendos.

Side note: I don't think the Carl's Jr ad is all that bad. It isn't saying that you need to objectify women. And it isn't saying that the woman represents an object. She is just endorsing it like Bob from Biggest Loser endorses Quaker Oats. And having a person endorse something makes it more memorable. Therefore, have a cute girl show of the burger, more people will remember the burger than if you just showed the burger. It just wants our brain to remember the product in more than one way.

All that being said, I do think it is sad how sexualized commercials are.

Autumn said...

I haven't eaten there in over six junior year of college they had swim suit edition cups and it made me so mad than when my date got the cup there was a basically naked window on the cup.

The Mechams said...

Here's the reply I received back from Carl's Jr.

"We regret that you were displeased with our advertising promotion. Your feedback is very important to us, and I have passed your comments on to our marketing department and senior management.

CKE Restaurants, Inc., owner and franchisor of Carl’s Jr. restaurants, adopts a creative approach to our advertising. It is intended to communicate the core message of our premium quality food to our target audience of Young, Hungry Guys. We do not aim to exclude or offend any other groups with our efforts, but merely to appeal and amuse a very specific audience. We understand that not everyone may view our advertising the same way so we respect all views and welcome comments."

To say the least I won't be going back to Carl's Jr again!

brooke said...

Angela, I'm so glad Arby's apologized to you! Apparently, now they're singing a different tune from Sarah's response.

And all you lucky ducks GOT responses! No one has dared respond to me yet...hmmm.

We might also ask: what's that target audience of "young, hungry guys" actually hungry for???

Anonymous said...

This makes me SOOOOO mad!!!!

Here's what I wrote to Carls Jr.:
"The other day I saw your advertisement of "Miss Turkey" and was quite horrified. If the only way you are able to successfully market your food is by a means of objectifying women in an inappropriate, sexual way, then I have no desire to be a customer of your product. If you continue to advertise in such a low, disgusting manner I will share my distaste for your advertisements and discourage others from supporting those advertisements through being Carls Jr. customers as well. Thank you."

Ghostly89 said...

So I see that this is one of those ugly chick websites. No one got objectified and you missed the point entirely. Stop over analyzing a fast food chains commercial and get a life. Also based on your article, I'm convinced that you're one of those gross fat girls. Off to the gym you go...

brooke said...

Ghostly89--what was the point of the ad?

Anonymous said...

it is great that you posted about this ad. i disliked the video on youtube and also left comment that it was not professional approach at all, it was discriminating, objectifying ad. there are so many ads like this out there. it makes me sad.

BringItOn369 said...

I love that pig-headed mysogynistic men automatically assume any woman with a sense of self-respect must be fat, ugly and needing to head to the gym. Scumbags like ghostly89 make me eternally grateful to have the wonderful husband I do (although having him around everyday apparently spoils me, since it makes me forget that such unattractive, repugnant men still walk amongst us every day). Anyways, trying to move on from that...

Here is the email I sent to Carl's Jr. I can only hope that other people will follow suit:

"I have always been a fan of your restaraunt; my husband and I frequented our local franchise often, and chose Carl's over other meal options. However, upon seeing your recent ads we are outraged and disgusted(the ads for "Miss Turkey", and also the one that blatantly demeans non-super model women) . I have NEVER seen such shameful advertising in my life, and you should all be horrified with your decision. I have been the victim of sexual abuse; it destroyed my life in a way that you will never know or understand. I fully hold people like those responsible for this advertising in your company largely accountable for the acceptance of violence against women in our society. You preach the message that women are objects meant only for the pleasure of men, regardless of how much pain, humiliation, or degradation they endure in the process. You should ALL be ashamed of yourselves. Do you want your DAUGHTER, WIFE, MOTHER, or SISTER drooled over as someone with no worth? How would you feel if they were raped and beaten because they're seen as objects having no value as human beings? I implore you to seriously reconsider your advertising. Until that time, my family and I will NEVER pay you another dime of our hard-earned money again."

Angela said...

Thank you for this post! I just discovered it and have been most recently fuming over the last Carl's Jr. ad. I feel that this one is worse than the Miss Turkey one. I have been boycotting them for years now and have been made to feel that I'm over reacting. I'm glad to see there are other like-minded individuals out there.

Anonymous said...

I just saw another carls jr commercial minutes ago and honestly this last one horrified me ...i mean its to much i cant believe how they allow these things on tv ... No wonder men start behaving the way they do im 20 and this disturbes me .... It makes us women look like objects ...Now a days you have to wear makeup and dressprovocative to be called a women Im sorry but what the hell? Even to get a Job ? Men dont have to go through these things Ive never seen a male half naked on tv yet the women are exposed and to everyone its normal yet if they see a male they wouldnt think it was normal... Its because of these commercials that men think women have to behave and act certain ways i used to love carls jr jalapeno burger but man this comercial just made them lose a customer ....

Anonymous said...

If you have a daughter or will oneday ???lets hopee she doesnt get disrespected by any male... Your a male for you its okay because you dont have to deal with males thinking that your someone that your not ...

Anonymous said...

The commercial i just seen was in spanish and i cant believe what it said.... It got me so mad its very disturbing ... Your not over reacting i think its the same comercial i just saw...

Dia D said...

Thanks for helping us be more educated about this.

My comment to Carl's Jr:

I have always been a big fan of your restaurant and I've frequented it with my entire family. I recently saw commercials for Carl's Jr. blatantly objectifying women in order to sell the product (Miss Turkey, Superbowl etc). We used to go to Carl's Jr. for the great no-bun option, as my family is gluten-intolerant, but we will not be coming again until Carl's Jr. stops such flagrant and disgusting marketing techniques. Often called "creative" or "inventive," these techniques are demeaning, disgusting and frightening. Victims of sexual abuse have advertisers like YOU to thank for adding to the sexualization of normal, non-sexual experiences like EATING. We look forward to family-friendly advertising in the future, or we will not return and will discourage everyone we know to boycott Carl's Jr. completely.

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