Basically, I could just list everything on every menu at every fast food restaurant here, but in the interest of space, I’ll just note the most recent offense.
I’ve been repeatedly horrified by the commercials for KFC’s Double Down Chicken Sandwich. Using two pieces of fried chicken instead of bread to make a sandwich? Who thinks up this stuff? Did the bovines from Chick-Fil-A contract mad cow disease and moonlight for KFC’s marketing department? I was still green from watching an Olive Garden commercial — rife with shots of repulsive cream sauce slathered all over every other food substance in sight —- when I first saw this. I just about hurled.
There is nothing wrong with food porn. Over-the-top mouth watering visual presentation of high or low cuisine can be titillatingly. But that is totally different than the sort of fast food marketing porn that has been popping up lately.
Probably the most jaw dropping example of this would be the BK Super Seven Incher ad that features a woman with a disturbingly close resemblance to a blow-up doll about to deep throat, well… a Super Seven Incher. Which, really BK, is only a little above average, so what’s with all the bragging? People order hundreds of Foot Longs at sub shops all the time, so really, aren’t you just pointing out your inadequacies?
The ad’s sexual imagery is so amateurishly blatant they might as well have written “Hey, see what we did with the phallic sandwich and the girl here?” in bold letters along the bottom. Oh wait… they did. They added “It’ll BLOW your mind away” beneath it. Do they really think we missed it with the picture? If they hit us over the head any harder with this innuendo people would fall unconscious as soon as they opened their Sunday circulars.
And come on – the name of the sandwich is the Super Seven Incher? Really? Didn’t the uncontrollable giggling at the sandwich naming meeting tip you off that maybe you should go in another direction? Once, while working in marketing for a tech firm trying to create TIVO before there was TIVO, they asked for a quick brainstorming session to name a cool little cube that sits on your television and plays instant movies. I quite innocently offered “The Hot Box” out loud and the men in the room just about burst themselves laughing, so I know “The Seven Incher” didn’t fly over everyone’s heads. They just thought they were being cheeky when really they’re just like some 10 year old nerd snatching his first Victoria’s Secret catalog out of the mail.
As disturbing as that ad is, Quizno’s Toasty Torpedo ad may have had even more people squirming uncomfortably in their seats. Of course, the Toasty Torpedo is actually 12 inches long – so take that, Burger King. But this time, everything is a tad homoerotic, which whether you are gay or not, is a step up the evolutionary scale from fellatio with inanimate blow up dolls. In this ad it is easier to tell they’ve got their tongue planted firmly in their cheek, no pun intended, so you can almost give them a pass. But they probably could have skipped the whole thing and rolled out those Frankenstein rat commercials again and done just as well. And the opening line, suggesting the last time this happened it “burned,” isn’t terribly appealing on any level.
It isn’t just the KFC Double Down that leads you to believe there might be some backlash to Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about food excess: Super Size Me. For instance, Carl’s Jr. now serves the Breakfast Burger – all 830 calories and 46 grams of fat of it. How do you make a Breakfast Burger? Combine a fried egg, bacon, hash brown nuggets, cheese, ketchup, and a hamburger patty and slap that entire intestinal horror on a sesame-seed bun.
Why is this under Sloth rather than Gluttony?
How lazy do you have to be before it is too much of a hassle to eat your hash brown nuggets separately from the same action that pushes your burger/egg/bacon sandwich down your gullet?
If you have trouble controlling yourself around gluttony, for the love of all that is holy do NOT go to In n’ Out Burger where you can combine as many meat and cheese pairs as you like. The people who came up with this idea probably go around passing out gallons of vodka at AA meetings and copies of Playboy at Sexaholic counseling, too.
I hate clowns. If you don’t hate clowns there is probably something a little off about you there, John Wayne Gacy. But in contradiction to my theory that everyone must hate clowns, you have a beloved anomaly like Ronald McDonald running around. That creep has been working for Micky Dee’s for nearly 50 years.
Jealous of McDonald’s success with mascots, Burger King introduced The King. I can barely watch a commercial with The King in it, I am filled with such loathing for him. I literally have to look away.
Turns out clowns are NOT the creepiest thing in the world. Who knew.
Acedia is an old school deadly sin that basically means neglect to take care of something that one should do. Like, for instance, setting a good examples for kids. It’s bad enough much of fast food marketing encourages lousy eating habits, but you especially have to wonder what marketing genius gave the thumbs up to the new non-alcoholic Burger King Mimosa (orange juice and Sprite). If they didn’t see the approaching shit storm of backlash over a drink that allows children to mimic Mommy and Daddy’s inability to have a breakfast without booze, they really need to find another job. What’s next? The BK Long Island Ice Tea, brilliantly concocted using actual ICE TEA?
Apparently fast food marketers think they are so hip that they don’t need to do their homework. Either that or they’re so busy tittering over obscene sandwich ads that they don’t have the time.
Take the KFC Frak Pack. Whether you are a recent Battlestar Gallactica fan or grew up lusting for Dirk Benedict as Starbuck on the original series like I did, you know the word “Frak” on BG basically translates to “Fuck.” They didn’t really try to hide it – it starts and ends with the same letter and everything.
So here comes KFC with their Frak Pack Sweepstakes, which logically then translates to “The KFC Fuck Pack.”
It really makes you wonder – do ad guys just not get out much? Are they like Mad Men – all sitting around in their offices getting drunk and laughing about how women’s brains aren’t as big as theirs?
KFC isn’t the only company who arrogantly assumes they have their greasy little fingers on the pulse of what is cool. This was painfully apparent when McDonald’s came out with their “I’d hit it” ad.
What has double cheese burger done to this “dollar menu guy” that he feels the need to so callously “hit it?” — and then dump it for that red-haired Wendy tramp, I imagine.
Some ad exec overheard his son talking to his buddies and really misunderstood what that phrase meant.
How did this make it all the way to print? Are the creative directors just required to run these ads by their mom’s before they go live?
Saturday Night Live had a great parody of the excesses of fast food I’ll stick in here in case you missed it. (ignore the guy occasionally laughing, even with that this was the clearest version I could find.)