A Risqué Business.
Introducing Burger King’s Super Seven Incher …
(Before I go any further, I would ask if everyone could everyone please keep their head out of the gutter!)
Let’s start by discussing the simple denotation (signifier: what is literally on the page) of this image before we get into the dirty, ‘nitty gritty’. This image depicts a blond haired girl, with her eyes wide and her red lips opened facing a burger. There it is people – that’s it! Or is it? (Let’s just say, I don’t think anyone would believe that she’s preparing to take a bite out of that burger.) While that description of the image may be true, the connotation (signified: the evoked meaning a sign represents in your mind) of the image tells us another story.
While searching the web for a ‘controversial’ image, never did I think that something like this would come up. A play on racism? Maybe. A criticism of smoking? Definitely. But an add that makes possibly the least subtle allusion to oral sex while advertising a meal was not on my list.
This ad was released in the city-state of Singapore in the first half of 2009 (which came as a pretty big surprise to me, considering Singapore is a society typically known for its strict government controls of social conduct). The “mind-blowing” sandwich near the open mouth of the woman, accompanied by the suggestive tagline: “It’ll blow your mind away”, suggests an act of fellatio taking place. The sexual undertones of the meal, including the name, ‘Super Seven Incher’, not only lacks subtlety but also appeals to only half of the population (we can all guess which side), something I’m not sure you should aim for when advertising a product. The ad continues, “Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled,” (cough, vomit, faint). One thing I can say is that this ad achieves universality and it’s ability to transcend audiences as we all recognise the act this ad is suggesting, though we may not be willing to admit it to our grandparents just yet.
I don’t know about you, but I for one cannot help but feel highly uncomfortable and a little disgusted. Is there a line in advertising? Yes. Did they cross it? In my opinion – most definitely. I’d also like to point out that, while distracted from this unappetizing ad, I actually forgot that Burger King was indeed selling a seven-inch sub!
Which leads me to my question: WHY BURGER KING, WHY?
(I apologise if this image offends anyone in anyway.)
Burger King 2009, Super Seven Incher, image, Market Like A Chick, viewed 20 March 2013, < http://www.marketlikeachick.com/burger-king-loses-marketing-machismo-focuses-on-women/>.