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Macho = Misogynist in Carl’s Jr. Ad

Date: April 24, 2009 | Posted By:

Yet another awful Carl’s Jr ad:
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OK. Here’s what I learned from this advertisement:

1. Men like buffalo wings.
2. Men want to be cool and macho.
3. Eating Buffalo wings, ogling waitresses, and disrespecting your girlfriend are all a part of being cool and macho.

Wait. What?

I’m sorry Carl’s Jr., but I just don’t follow your logic. Since when does a high-calorie diet equal manliness? And why does Carl’s Jr. feel determined to align its product with misogynistic clichés?

Curious to learn how Carl’s Jr. interprets its own ad, I referenced the press release for this commercial. Here is the message consumers are meant to take away after viewing:

The 30-second spot…features a young, hungry guy enjoying Buffalo wings at his local sports bar. The wings are hot but the waitress is even hotter. The ad ends humorously when the guy is busted by his girlfriend for taking a little too much interest in the waitress.

There are 3 major messages in this article I find troublesome:

1. The clear oversexualization of the waitress. Everything from her risqué outfit to the way she flirts with Hungry Guy promotes the idea that she is a sexual object. Carl’s Jr. is effectively promoting their ideal attractive woman: a young blonde who will prance around seductively for strangers.

2. Hungry Guy’s lack of sensitivity and respect for his girlfriend. Even though he knows she will be upset, Hungry Guy cannot look away from the waitress because she is sexually attractive. Basically, the idea is that macho men are incapable of ignoring a seductive woman, even if they know their ogling may hurt their loved one.

3. The Them vs. Us mentality. By marketing their big, meaty sandwich to men, Carl’s Jr. promotes the idea that men with big appetites, the bad boys, and the kind of guys that make their girlfriends upset, will like this product. Of course, this is ridiculous, but young men watching this commercial may learn to think that when you’re a stud who likes big burgers, treating women as sexual objects is normal.

Hopefully, men and women will take a long second look at this commercial and see it for what it is. Eating a sandwich does not make you more of a man, but avoiding media manipulation and sensing the sexist attitudes behind everyday advertisements definitely does.

If you are fed up with Carl’s Jr. advertising please let them know by clicking here to send your comments directly to Carl’s Jr.

-Nikki

Nikki Roddy is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. After getting her start in magazine publishing in Southeast Asia in 2007, she returned to the United States, where she writes on culture, fashion, and music for various print and online publications, such as SOMA magazine and CountryMusicGoodness.com. In her off time, she enjoys making nachos, walking around the city, and watching live music performances.




What Do You Think?

5 Responses to Macho = Misogynist in Carl’s Jr. Ad

  1. Merritt on 04-24-2009

    Great article Nikki! I just sent my response to Carl's Jr. One thing this made me think of is that it's not clear that the other woman in the ad is a girlfriend. What if she's his wife? So, now Carl's Jr. is promoting adultery and disloyalty? Hmm...I won't be eating there any time soon!
  2. Jocelyn on 04-25-2009

    I fear for my 3 year old daughter. She will be subjected to media such as this her whole life and by the time she hits puberty, she will have an idea that being a female is what she has seen in the media... girls who are beautiful, skinny and sexy get guys' attention. Getting a boy's attention is a female's only goal. To make men happy and their girlfriends' jealous. My dear daughter will not know she feels this way, it will be ingrained in her subconscious. That makes it so much harder for me as her mom to counter act this. Thanks for your website. We need more like it.
  3. Danielle on 04-26-2009

    Yikes...that was some commercial. I mean, for one, it tells girls that it's okay to flirt with another man (even if his girlfriend is right next to him), and it tells guys that ogling another women in front of their girlfriends is okay--and good (especially when you've got a greasy-ass, calorie ridden burger).

    I must add...but, where in the world are you going to find a Carl's Jr. waitress dressed in an outfit such as that!? Go to a Hooters bar and you'll probably find one like that, but...Carl's Jr?

    The waitress is oversexualized--her clothes are revealing, her task is sexy(who knew cleaning dirty, crumb covered tables could be so sexy?), and the way her lips move is almost as though she's having the sex (with the man? or table?)

    What kills me is when the guy says "What?" in response to his girlfriends obvious displeasure. I mean, how could he NOT know that what he was doing wasn't going to be appreciated?

    I would have loved the commercial if the girlfriend pushed the boyfriends head into his burger and gave him a mask of tomato and mayonnaise before walking out on his sorry ass (but of course...that will never happen because a girl stays with a guy no matter how much displeasure he brings her).

    I used to eat at Carl's Jr, but since these commercials started running, I've boycotted. I will not support a place that creates such advertisements.

    Thanks for the link, I'll be letting Carl's Jr know that I'm fed up with their ads.
  4. Olya on 04-27-2009

    i have to agree with danielle in regards to, "I would have loved the commercial if the girlfriend pushed the boyfriends head into his burger " that would really be the perfect ending; and it will make just as much sense as the rest of the commercial.

    what caught my eye also is that his gf and the waitress almost look identical, aside from the obvious factor: she's not in a 4" mini skirt with an open belly t-shirt. but her face (aside from the displeasure of realizing what a twirt her "man" really is and the overly sexualized licking of the lips) and hair are identical to the "hotty" waitress.

    so is this the message carls jr: unless you're (read: woman) wearing next-to-nothing a man will not realize your existence, even when you're supposed to be his significant other, especially when eating one of their burgers? wow, gee, thanks.

    i find the commercial tasteless and all too male oriented.

    which leads me to believe another embedded meaning: women simply can't afford to eat such a high caloric delicatessen, as they either a. are on a diet or b. should be a diet.

    no wonder the companies name is "carls JR" (emphasis on JR), evidently, they still need some growing up to do.
  5. heda on 05-11-2009

    this is a nasty world