Via Kelsey Wallace at Bitch blogs (whose title works just as well as my own, to wit, Hardee’s: No One Wants You to Dip Your Balls in It) comes news of Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s latest ad campaign, Hardee’s Biscuit Holes, which the company describes thusly:
Man-on-the-street survey asks for new names for Hardee’s Biscuit Holes. Wait until you see what they come up with! Got a better name? Tell us at www.NameOurHoles.com and star in your own commercial.
To the extent that it focuses on male anatomy, this commercial is a welcome relief from the company’s traditional, misogynist fare:
Naturally, there’s a bit of a conflict here: are the biscuit holes to be taken literally or figuratively? As in, are they holes (read: assholes; cue: fears of anal and/or “gay” sex) or balls (bis-ticles, hehehe)? The former is potentially homophobic and thus not-so-funny, while the latter is, well, long overdue. Hardee’s has been exploiting the bodies of women to sell cruelty-laden products for going on a decade or more, and it’s about time the dudes got their due. (In a fun and lighthearted way, I mean; I’d rather no animal bodies be shamed, objectified, or exploited in any manner, thankyouverymuch.)
But that’s not to suggest that the Biscuit Holes campaign evens the scoreboard. As I told my husband, the “misandry” will only begin to rival the misogyny* once Hardee’s starts lacing its commercials with gratuitous close-ups of bouncing, disembodied balls being dunked into coffee mugs or casting hairy-chested, mankini-wearing men in its softcore necrophilic fetish ads – for the sex, not the funny. So far, Hardee’s is all talk, no (live) action.
Given Hardee’s long (long!) history of exploiting women to hawk their wares, Ben Mayo Boddie’s objection to the Biscuit Holes campaign – and, as best I can tell, only to the Biscuit Holes campaign – is all kinds of offensive:
The Rocky Mount, N.C., franchisee of Hardee’s restaurants, the company’s largest franchisee, is blasting the burger chain’s newest advertising campaign and says it will not place the spots in any of the markets in which it operates eateries.
In a letter responding to complaints from the Parents Television Council, Ben Mayo Boddie, chairman of franchisee Boddie-Noell Enterprises, states: “Thank you for your recent letter complaining about the biscuit hole advertising. I agree with you 100 percent. Why in heavens name does Hardee’s Food Systems and Mendelsohn Zien Advertising want to put Hardee’s in a category that diminishes not only the product but the brand itself?”
Boddie has asked executives with the company that owns the Hardee’s brand, CKE Restaurants, to eliminate the spots in all markets.
Jenna Petroff, a spokeswoman for CKE Restaurants, says there are no current plans to drop the ads, which she says will be aired only after 9 p.m.
She said the franchisees are free to air or not air any ads in their markets at their discretion. She said CKE “ … adopts a creative approach to our advertising. It is intended to communicate the core message of our premium quality food to our target audience of young, hungry guys. We do not aim to exclude or offend any other group with our efforts, but merely to appeal and amuse a very specific audience. We understand that not everyone may view our advertising the same way and we respect all views.”
Newsflash, Boddie (oh, Boddie, your ripeness for puns, I adore it!): Hardee’s crossed that line many, many years ago. In fact, this seems to be Hardee’s sole branding strategy. Paris Hilton. Padma Lakshmi. The Girlfriend. The Fist Girl. The Hot Teacher with the Flat Buns. The Hot Chick on the Mechanical Bull. The Actual Chick with the Huge Breast(s). Shall I keep going?
And yet, it’s only when the focus turns to men’s naughty bits that you take offense. Up until now, you’ve apparently been more than happy to rake in the money, hand over fist, which has been “earned” in part through the exploitation of women’s actual bodies. Why is that, hmmm?
* My spell checking program’s recognition of “misogyny” and rejection of “misandry” delights me so! Not that some groups of men aren’t shat on, it’s just that you rarely hear the word used by anyone but woman-hating, delusions of persecution-harboring straight white Christian men. Plus, these men are usually covered by other terms, such as “racism,” “homophobia,” “transphobia,” “xenophobia,” etc.
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