Marketing From A Woman's Point of View

Burger King’s Sponge Bob SquareButt – How NOT To Market To Women

Have you seen the SpongeBob Burger King commercial that has been playing?   The commercial is made to promote the 99 cent kid’s meals that come with SpongeBob Squarepants toys. The ad is set to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song “Baby Got Back,” and starts by showing that creepy BK  character measuring one chick’s butt size.

I am far from being a prude and can joke about sex in marketing with the best of them, but seriously, it bugs me when they take a children’s character and mix it with a sexual innuendo of sorts.

And, of course, it would be focused on the sexual appeal of a woman because we all know that’s what women are good for, right? Are we now allowing a fast food chain to teach our children that women, their moms, sisters, and teachers are only valued by size of their derriere?

I had to laugh when I saw a comment on Washington Post’s article on the ad. A reader said:

“When will we start seeing men’s genitals measured like french fries? Putting a phone book on a woman’s butt and measuring it is totally funny as long as you think measuring a guy’s di.. is equally funny. They can use Salt and Pepper’s song… shake shake booty…What a sick culture!” Posted by: lk11

My last post spotlighted 30 of the top female Internet entrepreneurs breaking glass ceilings, yet here we are still being portrayed in a cheesy fast food chain commercial simply as a man’s play toy.  Maybe I’m going overboard. Maybe not.  Advertisements like this are demeaning to women and keep the public image in the dark ages.  We are all aware of the Barbie doll figure that society has made the norm for an acceptable woman’s figure and we are becoming aware of the effect it’s had on our self image.

One good thing that came from this advertising tactic was slow sales and angry parents. The commercial was actually banned in the state of Illinois.  Nanette Byrnes, of Business Week Magazine, reported that “the SpongeBob spot was viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube—but cost them business. That campaign, which featured the King measuring women’s ‘square butts,’ prompted 10,000 angry letters and, owners say, failed to result in higher sales.”

Burger King CEO, John Chidsey, would be wise to remember that many mothers make the meal decisions for their families, and we are not looking for a sexy fast food chain, but a good value and possibly even a healthy choice.  McDonald’s saw a 7% increase in sales in April alone as they added to their value menus and Burger King worked on luring their male consumer base with women with big square booties.

How do you feel about this commercial?  A little joking may be harmless, but what is your opinion about mixing children’s characters with adult themes? Has Burger King gone too far in their marketing strategy?

To Your Success,

May 18, 2009   3 Comments