Kit Steinkellner
January 23, 2015 11:30 am

“Hey, who am I?” I asked my husband last time we were out eating burgers.

I bit into my super-drippy burger while slowly winking at him, then breathed heavily while crazily tossing my hair around.

“You’re a Carl’s Jr. ad!” he said, banging a fist on the table. Nailed it in .0001 seconds.

I present to you the above anecdote to illustrate a truth universally acknowledged: Carl’s Jr. is RIDICULOUS when it comes to its way-way-way over the top ads about women behaving ridiculously sexily while getting their burger on. Paris Hilton has sexily eaten one of their burgers while washing a car, Kate Upton has executed a bunch of burlesque choreography plus burger-eating at a drive-in, Kim Kardashian did a commercial for one of their salads, but she was on a bed wearing an almost-see-through robe-thing and she was eating salad with her fingers, you guys, it counts.

These commercials objectify and dehumanize women, equating our sexuality basically to that of a burger. As far as this fast-food joint’s commercials are concerned, both burgers and women are just meat.

The restaurant is up to its old tricks this upcoming Superbowl, with a commercial that may be its grossest yet. To sell the new “all-natural burger,” the commercial features a young woman who looks PRETTY NAKED walking through a farmers market, while various produce pops up at the right time to cover her bathing suit parts (a butt-shaped tomato covers her butt, two melons on a scale obscure her breasts), and then it’s revealed that the girl was never naked, she was just wearing a bikini top and booty shorts (because , of course, that’s what everybody wears to the farmer’s market) and the reason she was getting lech-y stares from men was because she was HOLDING A GRASS-FED BURGER FROM CARL’S JR. Say wha?

How is this making anyone even hungry? Despite all the mouthiness, none of the women in the ads ever seem like they’re actually enjoying their burgers. They look more like people who’ve had to consume a gross amount of meat for a really long commercial shoot. Maybe I’m not the target audience (OK, clearly I’m not) but I can’t imagine how being turned on makes you want to veg out with a massive sandwich that will probably make you tired and full.

We’re not the only ones rolling our eyes as hard as they can roll. Adweek editor Lisa Granatstein had some choice words for the fast food restaurant recently when she guested on Good Morning America:

“I think everyone knows what Carl’s Jr. is all about. These ads aren’t going after women, they’re going after men. They are not afraid of the controversy. The more controversy the better.”

So maybe it’s not about making consumers hungry for burgers, but rather making the media hungry for controversy. Mission accomplished, sadly.

Fortunately for you East-Coasters and Midwesterners, the latest ad is only going to be airing on the West Coast, but it’s just so icky and messed how these ads treat women, should they be airing at all?  The audience of the Super Bowl this year will be reportedly 46% women. It seems really out of touch on Carl’s Jr.’s part to objectify and alienate basically half of its audience (not to mention half of its potential consumers).

Carl’s Jr. has made an advertising name for itself objectifying women. But guess what, there are a MILLION ways to execute a catchy and effective ad that don’t involve degrading women. So back to the drawing boards, ad guys, off with you now, go think of a better way to sell burgers. Seriously, just show us a picture of a burger, and we’re in.

Image via

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