The 5 Worst Words Ever Used in Food Advertising
Within the world of advertising, certain rules exist. #1: Never say anything bad about the product you’re advertising, a point which, despite being blindingly obvious, still gets ignored with alarming regularity by commission-hungry salespeople or PR droids; #2: Never say anything too mean about your competitor, because frankly, you’ll only come off as a jealous dickwad for doing so; and finally #3: Don’t use any reference to anything other than food in food adverts, because nothing sells food better than actually food-related stuff.
However, sadly, this last rule came too late for the following people. Have pity.
McDonalds "I'd Hit It" Campaign
Back in 2004, the fast food industry, in particular McDonalds, took a serious kick in the testicles with the release of and subsequent outcry over Morgan Spurlock's "Supersize Me!". Undeterred as ever and still seemingly compelled to continue bilking customers for their hard earned chump change in exchange for waistline expanding and heart stopping goodness, the advertising executives over at McDonalds came up with a sure fire way to stay hip and on the scene.
Let's get 'em thinking about sex! That ALWAYS works. Right?
Wrong. Unless we're talking about adolescents deep in the throes of virginal angst, food as a sexual stimulant should not be applied to the genitals. Nor vice versa. Unless you swing that way, in which case, please don't tell us about it.
Burger King’s 2005 “Coq Roq” Campaign
If you were (un)lucky enough to ever see these ads, you’ll remember a faux metal band wearing outrageous masks and thrashing about on stage in what can only be described as a fit of cholera-induced spasms and seizures.
Oh, wait. That’s the band that SUED BURGER KING for coming up with an ad campaign that, the band’s lawyers claimed, too closely resembled the “image and persona” of the real (faux) metal band.
But this isn’t about lamesauce metal bands. This is about a poorly conceived appeal to sexual impulse by trading on the hip term “cock rock,” which we’re pretty sure can be used to describe any band BUT Slipknot and maybe Celine Dion. Maybe.
Cock rock, for those not in the know, refers to music produced by bands of men who write songs about things that cocks do. Like being Shook All Night Long while having sex with a woman. Or how Urgent it is to have sex with a woman. Or eating Cherry Pie. Or being so completely over-the-top and out-of-your-mind horny with lust that all you can do is stand there screaming Girls, Girls, Girls!
What cock rock isn’t, though some may wish to argue, is metal. So BK failed on multiple counts here. First, funky chicken masks aren’t sexy. Second, metal, by and large, while being perfectly good background music for a night of Giving the Dog a Bone, doesn’t concern itself with sex and sexuality. Metal, for the uninitiated, concerns itself with heavy issues like bloodshed, murder, depression, war, crime, abuse, and other frilly pink ideas that, in visual form, would make a delightful decoupage for a child’s bedroom wall if that child lived, say, in a gulag. And while other issues might make their way into a metal band’s lyrical lexicon, banal attempts at sexual humor using fancy French spellings are NOT METAL!
Nor do they really get us thinking about sex. And especially if we’re trying to figure out why there are five guys wearing freaky chicken masks flinging themselves around a stage and recommending we buy something called a “chicken fry”. It just sounded wrong… because it was. And it still is.
Ball Park Franks “Girthy” Campaign
Sometime back in 2004, the makers of Ball Park hot dogs hired an ad company to ask their buyers what they wanted, and they learned that the mature hot dog buying public wanted something that appealed to their “grown up tastes.”
This somehow got translated to “girthy,” and was forced down the throats of the television audience by a heavy set man who introduced himself as Frank and grilled up his lunch, or edible sex toys if you prefer, while narrating how much he loves the meaty, girthy goodness of a Ball Park dog. Since we know you’re imagining a fat man waving a dildo around before he starts sucking on it with some kind of sauce seeping out the side of his mouth, let’s just get this over with:
Clearly, there’s plenty of meaty grist for the mill here. Ball Park Frank represents previously unheard of and quite gallant support of men’s homoerotic fantasies. And a slightly less obvious emphasis on phalluses as a means of getting people’s attention focused on your EDIBLE PRODUCT!
At least one writer had the presence of mind to call the Ball Park folks on this point. For anyone still wondering… PENISES ARE NOT TO BE EATEN! Vulgar porn commentary aside, actually masticating a phallus should never be talked about. Really. Penises are just muscles that are held erect, when they are erect, by a trunk of tendons extending from the base of the shaft into the owner’s lower abdomen.
If anyone really is inclined towards literally getting stuffed with cocks, this guy’s taken the time to write a song for you about that little bit of cannibalism cited above:
Not to be outdone by naysayers, some writers wanted us to think that Ball Park Frank and his charbroiled schlongs of meaty, sweaty, savoury succulence were deserving of high praise. It’s okay, some argued, to make consumers think of penises in order to encourage sales of your edible processed pork by-product with binders and fillers, also known as “lips and assholes made to go with mustard”. We’d agree, except that we’re not in favor of eating penises (see above). Or lips and assholes for that matter.
Dairy Queen’s “MooLatte” campaign
You’ve got a drink of mixed beverages, one dark and one light, and you call it a MooLatte. 10 points for being punny as all hell, but minus somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million points for being just plain dumber than a box of toe jam. Even if you didn’t intend to reference a term straight out of the annals of Examples of How Human Beings Have Treated Each Other Like Shit…this was just a bad idea.
Although somewhat in dispute, the term mulatto, is not a happy word. It refers to one of mixed ancestry, typically with one parent of African descent and the other of European descent. Why, of necessity, is this a bad thing, you may ask.
A little history may be in order for readers unfamiliar with the era in which those of African descent oftentimes found themselves in the position of being made parents of children with mixed ancestry. Coincidentally, this was also the era generally considered to be when the term mulatto was coined. We’re talking about a time when a socially accepted institution known as “slavery” allowed for white-skinned persons to purchase, as in buy for cash or barter for goods, the bodies and lives of persons with darker colored skin, meaning primarily those from the continent of Africa.
By a less pejorative description, this era was known as “Manifest Destiny,” or, for those who favor reality over fantasy, when white folks were aggressively and overtly oppressing the ever-loving shit out of everyone else on the planet. These days it’s all very hush-hush, and whitey gets what he wants by selling people cheap food, packaged entertainment, and a host of other shit they don’t need.
Like milkshakes named after progeny of rape.
Hunt’s “Manwich” Campaign
To recap first, in case you weren’t reading closely up above, men’s body parts are not meant for actual human consumption. If you do happen to find a man who actually wants you to eat him, we highly recommend you turn around and run the fuck away!
If you don’t believe us, just write to this guy. You’ll need to learn some German, probably, but he’ll have a lot to tell you about munching on man flesh in a very literal sense.
And if you’re still of the mind that men belong on the business end of culinary utensils, you can probably count on this guy writing a song about you.
To be fair, Hunt really wanted everyone seeing their ads to think of hearty meals, big bold flavor, thick and chunky textures, and other such gustatory vulgarisms that seem to orbit the food industry’s efforts at marketing consumable products to the males of our species.
Unfortunately, they called their brain-child of advertising a “Manwich.” And that, we’re afraid (very, very afraid), does nothing but conjure images of a pair of hairy ass cheeks smashed between two oversized hamburger buns. Alternately, it makes us think that Charlton Heston wasn’t that far off the mark, and maybe we need to start looking out for the giant shovel trucks.