Carl's Jr.'s Sexist Super Bowl Commercial Is as Cheap as Its Burgers


Sexist Super Bowl commercials are like Christmas — they seem to come earlier every year.

Carl's Jr., the West Coast burger chain that trademarked the word "Thickburger" and then pioneered the idea of depicting women as objects to sell them, has released its latest commercial for the big game. It's exactly as intelligent and female-friendly as we've come to expect from Super Bowl Sunday's programming (except, of course, the Puppy Bowl).

Try not to lose your lunch:

We get it, Carl's Jr. She has breasts. The ad features Guess model Charlotte McKinney promoting the chain's new All-Natural Burger the logical way — by having her walk though a farmers market "au naturel," her unmentionables blocked from view by strategically placed fruits, vegetables and blocks of ice sold by slack-jawed vendors. "I love going all-natural," McKinney moans, about a burger. "It just makes me feel better."

Brad Haley, chief marketing officer at CKE Restaurants (parent to company of Carl's Jr.), told USA Today that the ad is true to its brand: "We don't cross the line, but we like to get right to the line." Haley says the ad targets Carl's. Jr.'s 18- to 34-year-old "hungry guy" customer. "This is the kind of ad they want to see over and over again." The commercial has already been viewed nearly 3 million times.

What? Do women not like burgers? Nobody watches Super Bowl commercials expecting depictions of women that aren't lazy stereotypes, and, theoretically, that makes sense. The Super Bowl is the most-watched television event of the year. Advertisers want to appeal to the male audience of the game, and part of that means appealing to their stupider, hornier side. 

But that logic disappears when actually looking at viewership data for the Super Bowl. Nearly 50% of Super Bowl viewers are women, and women are in charge of most day-to-day household purchases. Carl's Jr. could just as easily have made a commercial featuring, say, Chris Hemsworth (please say Chris Hemsworth) and attracted just as many potential consumers. 

Or, to be even more revolutionary, the burger chain could have come to the logical conclusion that sex appeal and the sale of fast food actually have very little to do with one another and tried selling its newest burger the old-fashioned way: by ripping off YouTube channels.