I’m no prude… but maybe I’m becoming one. You be the judge. Over vacation I had more TV viewing time with my kids than normal. It was then that I became uncomfortable and started hitting “mute” on fast food commercials. Or should I say “Fast, Loose, and Easy” food commercials. Have you seen the Quiznos’s homoerotic ad talking about the sexy Toasty Torpedo? (Double take and an oh-no-they-didn’t!) Or the one Carl’s Jr. ad, where “The Hills” star Audrina Patridge seductively eats their teriyaki burger, while wearing a gold bikini and rolling around on the beach discussing how it’s her guilty pleasure. (Cold Shower required for many) There’s even more racy fast food ads, like the Hardee’s promotion that talks to consumers about “creamy balls” and “happy holes” for its biscuit holes campaign. (Blushed on that one! )
If you check online, you see that even Burger King is in on the freaky deaky fast food action. On line you can find their Singapore print ad where a hot mama is posied to slide a long sandwich into her mouth with the caption that reads “It will blow your mind away”. Yeah, we all get it.
So why the sex-sells approach from these big established brands? These fast food companies all claim that they are doing what is necessary to target the young, hungry 18 – 20 something male consumer. Really? I have heard all they think about is sex and food. But isn’t there a danger in combining these messages? Has no one heeded George Costanza’s warning to us all in the Seinfeld episode that preached the dangers of combining food and sex? But more importantly, has no one remembered that TV is not all that efficient? It is not just 28 year old males watching those commercials. It is also my 14 year old boy, and my 10 year old daughter. And that is really not what we signed up for when we turned on the tube. Are they winning a short term battle but losing a longer term brand war?