Carl’s Jr.’s not so natural way of selling their burgers
by rachelwhite on February 27, 2017 - 2:15pm
Carl’s Jr. is an American fast food chain known for its controversial commercials that objectify women in order to sell its products. In this particular ad, the now very famous model Charlotte McKinney walks around in a food market completely nude; flaunting her gorgeous and “perfect” body while all the men at the market stare at her. At the end of the ad [the image inserted above], the blonde bombshell wears very little clothing, accentuating her cleavage while holding an abnormally large hamburger in her hand and then takes a big bite out of it. What is ironic with this ad is that the product for sell [the hamburger] is actually only shown in the few last seconds of the commercial. The ad even ends with the very interesting slogan of the chain: “Eat it like you mean it”. This now very controversial ad originally aired during the 2015 American Super bowl game where millions of people got to view it. The main objective of the ad was to promote its new hamburger made from all natural meat and in order to do so, Carl’s Jr. thought that it would be a great idea to use an all natural woman in his ad. Is this the best way to sell the brand’s products? I would have to disagree.
For this ad, Carl’s Jr. chose a tall, long-legged, slim – in my opinion, thin -, light-eyed, Caucasian blonde model who resembles Barbie. The problem here is that Barbie is an “unrealistic shape” who if brought to life size would have unhealthy and basically impossible body measurements (Cortese, 69). However, this did not stop Carl’s Jr. from choosing a life size Barbie to air in its ad. The blonde model does not in any way represent the average woman but rather, represents the impossible beauty standard that so many women try to achieve. The only important attribute of this model in this ad is her attractiveness (Cortese, 59). This is truly alarming because it tells girls and women that they must be attractive to the man, rather than teaching girls and women that they are much more than their appearance. Therefore, instead of making progress by using multiple people of different cultures, sexes and genders in the ad, there is a naked blonde model eating this hamburger with men simply staring at her rather than actually staring at the product being advertised, the burger.
The next problem with this ad is the way Carl’s Jr. compares his all-natural burger to a woman. In other words, they way they compare an object of pleasure [the burger] to a person [the model]. Comparing the two in order to promote the new “all-natural burger” demonstrates clearly the objectification of McKinney in this ad. Turning the woman in the ad into simply an object of pleasure for men has many damaging consequences. This objectification that women are constantly shown via advertisements turns into a self-objectification whereby women see themselves only as objects rather than as human beings (Newsom). This leads to a further problem where women who view themselves as objects have lower self confidence, higher risks of depressions, lower grades and lower ambition to pursue their dreams (Newsom). The American Psychological Association has actually referred to the problem of self-objectification as a “national epidemic” (Newsom). Therefore, objectification of women in advertisements is a serious and dangerous problem considering how many young girls have most probably seen this Carl’s Jr. ad.
Finally, in my opinion, I don’t think that objectifying women is the best solution in order to bring up companies’ sales. Thus, the excuse that companies objectify women for their sales or that “sex sells” is complete nonsense considering the many food chains that have never found it necessary to do so such as Tim Hortons. I think the best way to promote your product is by actually promoting the product itself. In other words, it is not by hiring a Barbie look-a-like that will increase your sells. It is by making the product the main thing presented in the ad that will make people come and by it. Also, considering different ethnicities, genders and sexes would be a good idea in order to make everyone feel like a customer at Carl’s Jr. Therefore, objectifying and degrading women is not the way to promote your “all-natural” burger.
Anthony Cortese. “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising.” 345-102-MQ; Gendered World Views, edited by Sarah Waurechen, Eastman, 2017, pp.9-27.
Miss Representation. Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, performance by Geena Davis and Cory Booker, Girls’ Club Entertainment, 2011.