Desire and Yearning, Burger King Style

I present you with reason number 247 to stay away from Burger King:

Others have noted that the woman in this ad resembles a blowup doll, but the problem with the image goes beyond the objectification of a woman by reducing her to a single orifice.  More disturbing is the juxtaposition of blatantly sexual ad copy with a wide-eyed woman who looks utterly horrified at the “Seven Incher” headed toward her open mouth. That’s not the look of a woman who’s happy to be there.

If you can’t quite make out the ad copy, here’s what it says:

Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER.  Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A.1. Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce.

Desire? Yearning? I’m not seeing it.

In addition, there’s the main ad copy: It’ll Blow Your Mind Away.  Not, it’ll blow you away, but it’ll blow your mind away when it’s shoved down your throat and chokes out the back of your skull.  This ad isn’t merely sexually suggestive; it’s evocative of sexual violence.

I’m not opposed to sexual innuendo in advertising, especially if the ad campaign is unlikely to be seen by children.  Depictions of sex don’t make something sexist. But I like my sexual imagery to portray all parties, men, women, and phallic sandwiches, as if they are fully enjoying themselves.  This ad doesn’t come close to cutting it.

Apparently Burger King didn’t learn from the widespread outrage and boycotts following their Spongebob/Sir Mix-A-Lot mash up.  Please let them know that their latest ad campaign isn’t an improvement:

Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Dr.
Miami, FL 33126
Consumer Relations (305) 378-3535, M-F, 9am–5pm EST
Investor Relations:


7 Responses to “Desire and Yearning, Burger King Style”

  1. DodiaFae on June 25th, 2009 8:16 am

    I’m sorry, I have to laugh at that ad.
    It’s obviously not meant to appeal to any self-respecting women (I’m certainly not impressed by it).

    And let’s consider for a moment the men that it would appeal to…

    The men who have little/no respect for women. But honestly, how do they think they’re going to look while eating one of those “Super Seven Inchers”? A bit like the blond in the ad, I should think. Or maybe they’ll look like they’re getting more enjoyment out of it. Hmmm…

    The closet homo-eroticism of all that makes me question whether my ex-boyfriend has gotten into advertising.

    Yeah, that’s bound to backfire.

    I wasn’t impressed by the square-butts ads, either… particularly when they were played on networks geared toward kids. Kids watching “Nickelodeon” shouldn’t be getting that reference in the first place.

    I still prefer Wendy’s for my occasional “fast food” fix.

  2. Jenn Q. Public on June 25th, 2009 3:12 pm

    DodiaFae, you’re right, I can’t imagine that this ad would appeal to a significant portion of the male population. Then again, it’s apparently running in Singapore and I don’t know a whole lot about their culture so I can’t really speculate. Are men supposed to think, she looked horrified at the idea of having that in her mouth, but I’m a man, I can handle the 7 incher? I’m fine with gender-targeted advertising, I just can’t figure out what gender/sexual orientation/level of aggression this ad is meant to appeal to.

    And just as an aside, if they really wanted the sandwich to seem impressive, shouldn’t they have added a few inches?

  3. Desire and Yearning, Burger King Style : The New Agenda on June 25th, 2009 3:19 pm

    […] post originally appeared on the author’s blog, Jenn Q. Public.  The author presents her own views, not necessarily those of The New Agenda.  A […]

  4. DodiaFae on June 25th, 2009 6:44 pm

    “And just as an aside, if they really wanted the sandwich to seem impressive, shouldn’t they have added a few inches?”

    ROFLMFAO Yes, 7″ is just average, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m busting a gut over here.

    Yes, the woman in the ad does look completely horrified… right down to the dilated pupils of her eyes. I can’t imagine who their target audience is, either. Singapore? Are they still trying to export America’s obesity problems to the rest of the world? That’s at least a couple of regular sized cheese burgers worth, isn’t it? And the sandwich in the picture looks like they’ve topped it with fries, cheese, bbq sauce (?), and mayo… I can hear my left ventricle slamming shut just thinking about it.

  5. PatrickKelley on June 27th, 2009 12:25 am

    Well, seven-inches is probably a pretty respectable size in Singapore ROFLMAO

  6. Eclectic Radical on July 7th, 2009 12:21 pm

    If the add is from Singapore it is /possible/ that the point is not that the woman is a woman, but that the woman is a white European in a yellow country. So the point could be racist rather than misogynist, colonial Europeans are not seen well in Singapore, Vietnam, and a few other Asian countries that remember casual sublimation of their government to foreign powers. It could racist with a misogynist twist, with the deliberate intent of violating the enemy’s woman. Very Stone Age.

    Normally, I don’t psychoanalyze ads that much (or even usually at all), but it’s hard not to join in. And I certainly understand that ads are very often meant to have a visceral or subliminal effect not immediately apparent to the conscious mind.

    Then again, it’s very hard to be certain what the visceral/subliminal message is meant to be. It could be something very simple (if still basically sexist) like ‘this ain’t no girly burger.’ I know I am not alone among male fast food consumers with large appetites sometimes disappointed by the size of the portions at Burger King or McDonald’s.

    None of this is meant to dismiss or devalue Jenn’s analysis, I am simply trying to enjoy thinking up subliminal messages. :)

  7. Jenn Q. Public on July 8th, 2009 1:38 am

    Great point about race, Chris. Now that sandwich is even more unappetizing. I’ll have the 7 incher slathered in racism with a twist of misogyny please.

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