Friday, April 17, 2009

Press Release of the Day: Spongebob Got Back Edition

Sometimes, I gotta say thanks to the content watchdog group the Parents Televsion Council -- for highlighting questionable fare that I hadn't seen. In this case, how did I miss that Burger King had launched a new ad campaign based on Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back"?!

The release:
PTC Blasts Burger King, Viacom for Gross Irresponsibility
Burger King Combines Degrading Images with SpongeBob to Sell Kids Meals

LOS ANGELES (April 16, 2009) – The Parents Television Council slammed Burger King for its latest attempt to sell kids meals with SpongeBob SquarePants toys by promoting the meals with a TV advertisement that declares the King “likes square butts” to the tune of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” (The controversy surrounding this advertisement follows closely on the heels of another Burger King advertising controversy involving depictions that were offensive to Mexicans.) The PTC also chided Viacom for allowing its SpongeBob cartoon character to be exploited in the degrading commercial. The advertisement first appeared during the championship game of the NCAA basketball tournament and has aired on several other programs including America’s Funniest Home Videos and Lie to Me, which aired at 8:00 pm ET before American Idol.

“The actions of Burger King are grossly irresponsible and patently dishonest. In spite of what their PR-spinners want the public to believe, this is an advertisement that is targeted directly at children – exploiting a beloved cartoon character with graphically degrading imagery,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“Burger King asserts that this commercial targets adults, not children; but that assertion would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic. They are exploiting one of the most iconic children’s brands in all of entertainment, SpongeBob SquarePants. The product is a 99-cent Kids Meal with a SpongeBob toy. And the commercial airs during programs that are watched by millions of families. This has nothing to do with an adult message.

“Viacom defends this use of SpongeBob as a character enjoyed by millions of adults. We would note that Barney the Dinosaur, Dora the Explorer and Elmo are also enjoyed by adults; but it would be preposterous to suggest that those characters target adults. It would be preposterous to say those characters are ripe for exploitation in a television advertisement featuring imagery and dialog that is offensive and degrading to women.

“Regardless of whether their rhetoric is true, which it isn’t, Burger King and Viacom appear to be admitting that the degradation of women in their advertising is appropriate for adults. Both companies should recognize their poor business decision and immediately cease any further airing of the commercial.

“While Burger King panders to controversy and offensive messaging to promote its food, the PTC is encouraging its members – and indeed parents across the nation – to consider more responsible alternatives when making their buying decisions. McDonalds, Wendy’s and Dairy Queen have not only stated their intention to be responsible and respectful advertisers, but they are demonstrating their commitment to those policies on a daily basis.

“Parents have every right to be concerned when popular cartoon characters show up alongside women dancing provocatively to a song that is all about ‘booty’ according to Sir Mix-A-Lot himself in the advertisement. And we hope that Nickelodeon will be mindful not to let SpongeBob become the ‘Joe Camel’ of sexually degrading advertising,” Winter concluded.

Wait, "The actions of Burger King are grossly irresponsible and patently dishonest"? Hey, if the Burger King "likes square butts," then he can not lie! After all, no other brothers can deny. His anaconda, after all, don't want none unless you've got buns. Hon.

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