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“Sex sells”. This is a phrase that many in the advertising business have used to sell products, and the success has varied.

In 2009, Burger King released an ad for their new sub called the “Super Seven Incher”. At the time a spokeswoman for Burger King refused to release the name of the advertising agency that created the controversial campaign but did reveal that it had been a local agency in Singapore, where it was a limited time promotion.

This ad has been branded as being extremely controversial due to its sexual connotations in regards to oral sex. For instance, it shows a young, blonde female with her eye-catching bright red lips wide open ready to take a bite out of the “seven incher” sub and the implications are anything but subtle. Another point to note is the tagline “It’ll blow your mind away”, printed in huge, bold, white letters, specifically the word “blow” which is in reference to the popular slang term for the act referenced as well as the words, “It just tastes better” in the top right corner. This combination of words and images denotes that one would gain the same amount of pleasure from eating the sandwich as they would from receiving the sexual act they are alluding to.

Along with this, the naming of the sub as the “Burger King Super Seven Incher” creates further controversy as well as the words in the bottom right corner urging consumers to “fill your desires” for something “long” and “juicy”, promising that you will “yearn for more” after you eat some. This is due to the fact that many perceived this as not being in reference to the sandwich but to male genitalia.

Another point of conversation about this ad is that it can be considered offensive and degrading to women. This is due to the fact that the ad is clearly targeted towards male consumers, showing a young woman about to eat the sub, which boldly resembles the act of performing oral sex on a MALE. Also, the woman’s wide-eyed gaze and open mouth have caused many to state that she resembles a blow-up doll. This only serves to further the idea that the ad is portraying women as objects who are only there to serve men. Hence it would appeal to the male audiences, as it ties in both food and sex while females would consider it degrading.

Personally, I understand that the purpose of this advertisement was to shock, push boundaries and get people talking, that being said I think it went too far. Yes, sex does sell and will no doubt continue to, but this ad lacks the subtlety and class needed to be taken seriously by its target audience, and instead is widely considered as being incredibly crude and offensive. Thus while it may be popular among males who will in fact buy the sub they are advertising, it has completely isolated and degraded women and has thus lost them as consumers.

References:

  1. Burger King , (2009), Burger King’s Super Seven Incher – It’ll Blow your mind away [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.themost10.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Burger-King-It-will-Blow-Your-Mind-Away.jpg?354d8b [Accessed 21 March 14].
  2.  Joshua Rhett Miller. 2009. Critics Cringe at Ad for Burger King’s Latest Sandwich. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/06/30/critics-cringe-at-ad-for-burger-king-latest-sandwich/. [Accessed 21 March 14].
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