Take a good look at the shots above because you will not be seeing this type of imagery selling cheeseburgers for one of America’s leading fast food franchises anymore- thanks in part to our work at The Progressive Pugilist (TPP). On March 25th, TPP ran a piece entitled Are American Men Dumb Animals? The piece was read all over the country and overseas in more than 30 countries. It featured this clip art from a Hardee’s / Carl’s Jr. advertisement that has become the epicenter of pubic discourse about responsible advertising. We took an aggressive stand along with a few other conscientious citizen activists and actually saw a shocking an unprecedented reversal. After building a brand on the controversy of selling burgers like this for years,
CKE Restaurant Holdings Company finally said enough is enough. And it may be the beginning of a trend.
On Monday of this week, Hardee’s / Carl’s Jr. made a major announcement in a full two minute television commercial DENOUNCING ITS OWN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. This is an unprecedented move for any successful business in America, much less a Fortune 1000 corporation that has been in business for more than 70 years. The simple message is that Dad is coming back and putting Carl Jr. in his place- which means throwing out all of the over-the-top sexually hyper-active ads that have defined the brand for so long. So now, we will see these guys
Instead of these young ladies
Switching marketing strategies is one thing, but dispatching your CEO (the repugnant Andy Pudzer) publically and spending millions of dollars to effectively apologize to the American public for years and years of misogyny is another. This is a victory for sane consumers who think its a bad idea to put super-sexualized images on television during family viewing hours that conflates hunger for food with hunger for sex.
Considering how much the target audience (males from 12 to 25) absolutely loves junk food and especially cheeseburgers, do you REALLY need to show them THIS in order to get them into your restaurant?
The answer is no and now the people who make the decisions on how to spend their millions of ad dollars know it too.
The big take-away is this: Making your point in a public forum matters. An amplified voice with a cogent position can make a difference and in this case the results are self-evident. TPP was by no means alone in its objections to the vulgarity passing as advertisement that was becoming pervasive in our mass media, but it struck a blow and shortly thereafter the giant took notice. All engaged citizens should consider this a victory and be encouraged to continue to observe actively and engage aggressively regardless of the issue and regardless of the odds. To borrow a phrase from a great man: We must be the change that we want to see. Let this closing picture be the one that stands the test of time:
∞ Thanks for checking in- Do your thing today and I’ll see you tomorrow π