After seeing the Kid’s Meal commercial recently issued by Burger King tying Butt Rap, Booty Dancing and Sponge Bob Square Pants together in the Psyche of America one of The Girl Revolution readers took action.
To Whom it May Concern:
The first time the Sponge bob/Burger King commercial aired I burst into laughter, my husband and I thought it was hilarious…until about half way through I looked at him sort of horrified as realization set in. “This is a commercial for kids ” I said quietly. See, when we realized it wasn’t some spot for SNL, but really aimed at CHILDREN, the pendulum swung from ‘hilarious’ to disgusting.
Just then Sir Mix A Lot delivered his “Booty is Booty” line and we just looked at each other like “whaa?!” While I completely understand the need for ad agencies to attract attention – to shock and awe – this is ridiculous. I get that sometimes it’s considered positive to anger the public, anything just to get a reaction, ..but come on!
“Booty” is booty, and it has absolutely NO place in children’s entertainment, or in commercials designed for kids. Why not just slap Hannah Montana on a stripper pole? Or show Diego getting oral sex? Where’s the line?
What I really want to know is why NO ONE in that board room discussion/screening spoke up and said “this is inappropriate”, “this is sick”, “does anyone here realize we’re marketing to kids? and maybe putting slutty looking, booty shaking, scantily dressed dancers surrounding sponge Bob might be a BAD idea?” Where was that guy? Was he sick? Was he absent every time the ad was discussed? Do any of your employees have children? Ask them what they were really thinking.
In short, you, the money/fame/power obsessed media, are hijacking childhood. You’re whispering at my kids from a dark alley, you’re bombarding them with crap they don’t need, you’re injecting sex into every possible scenario that might interest them, and you’re teaching them their value has to do with material things, and/or body image. You’re making yourselves an enemy – not smart and I’ll tell you why: In terms you’re really understand: I AM MOTHER. (This is me making fun of their I AM MAN commercials) I do the shopping, the comparing the carpooling, I make the financial decisions. I decide whether we will go to Burger King to McDonald’s and I decide if we will watch Sponge Bob or Disney or PBS Kids. And I’m just about fed up with you. Stop making yourself my enemy children’s media!
I can say with all certainty – I will whole heartedly support businesses whose ad campaigns are child appropriate and child friendly, and I will boycott the hell out of those who throw our children’s developing minds to the dogs for a little profit. And I am not alone, there are millions and millions of us decent parents out here – I may just be one annoying mother writing one annoying letter, but I can promise you there are millions of me who saw that commercial and thought, well, that’s it, you just had to throw that last piece of straw on the camel’s back, just had to step over that last faded line.
I ask you with all earnestness – please pull that commercial! Please make another one that pumps up sponge bob and Burger King without lowering our collective standards. I really want to keep Sponge Bob Saturday mornings – my kids adore him! I really want to keep buying those little crown-shaped chicken nuggets! Please reconsider the price you’re putting on our children’s innocence. It is worth much, much more than what Burger King is paying.
Ashley is a bad ass. Burger King replied.
Dear Ms. Smith,
Burger King Corporation is always happy to hear from our customers and we sincerely value your input. In this case, it is especially helpful because it allows us to clear up any confusion about the intentions of our advertising.
The 99-cent BK® Kids Meal is a value-based offer aimed at adults and requires an adult BK® Value Meal purchase. This value offering enables the entire family to enjoy an affordable quality meal. As with all BURGER KING® adult advertising campaigns, the SpongeBob commercial featuring Sir Mix-A-Lots airs only during shows targeting adult audiences and is meant to appeal to the adults who take their families to BURGER KING® restaurants for good food and entertainment. Please know that we have also developed a second, completely different SpongeBob advertising campaign for kids, which is currently airing on kid-targeted programming.
Please be assured that a copy of your comments to the Marketing Department so that they too, will be aware of your concerns.
Consumer Relations Department
So, Burger King knows that PARENTS – to whom these commercials are directed are pissed and unamused that they’ll now see booty shaking in their heads every time their preschooler turns Sponge Bob on.
Who buys the most Kid’s Meals in America? MOMs.
Who likes watching girls doing a Booty Dance to Butt Rap? 19 year old boys.
If you make your target feel like an object for male entertainment (booty is booty?) it’s a marketing failure.
If you demean the intelligence of your target it’s a marketing failure.
If you piss your target off it’s a marketing failure.
If you miss your marketing target it’s a marketing failure.
If you miss your target and your target thinks you’re targeting their kids – it’s a massive marketing failure.
If you target kids with a demeaning sexuality – you suck.
See the commercial here: F.U.B.K.
Check out Ashley’s blog at Hey You, Remember Me?!